The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place and time. The scale was developed by Canadian scientists in 1992, then adopted and standardized by the UN’s World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization in 1994. It is primarily used in daily forecasts aimed at the general public, and is increasingly available as an hourly forecast as well.
What is Ultraviolet index ?
The UV Index is designed as an open-ended linear scale, directly proportional to the intensity of UV radiation that causes sunburn on human skin. For example, if a light-skinned individual (without sunscreen or a suntan) begins to sunburn in 30 minutes at UV Index 6, then that individual should expect to sunburn in about 15 minutes at UV Index 12 — twice the UV, twice as fast.
The purpose of the UV Index is to help people effectively protect themselves from UV radiation, of which excessive exposure causes sunburn, eye damage such as cataracts, skin aging, immuno suppression, DNA damage, and skin cancer (see the section Human health-related effects of ultraviolet radiation). Public health organizations recommend that people protect themselves (for example, by applying sunscreen to the skin and wearing a hat) when the UV Index is 3 or higher; see the table below for more-detailed recommendations.
AVOID going out Especially between 11 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest or when UV index is 3 or more.
1.Shade your Skin
- Seek shade under trees, or create your own shade with a hat, shirt, or umbrella.
- Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs. Make sure the fabric has a tight weave. Fabric that is wet or has a loose weave will allow more light to penetrate through to the skin.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
2.Beware of clouds
- Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog. You can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
3.Remember about Reflection
- Water, sand, snow and concrete can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s damaging rays.
- Reflected UV radiation is just as damaging as direct UV radiation.
- Sand/concrete reflects 25% of UV radiation.
- Water reflects up to 100% of UV radiation.
- Snow reflects 85% of UV radiation.
4.Slop on the Sunscreen
- Use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or more that contain both UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every 2 hours (more often when working, playing, or swimming).
5.Avoid tanning salons and sunlamps
- These lights emit mostly UVA radiation – up to 2 – 5 times as much as natural sunlight. UVA radiation causes sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
- The UVB radiation from tanning lights is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer and also contributes to premature skin aging.
- For more information see youth tanning (link to being modified by the school team)
- The most harmful effects of sun exposure occur during early childhood. Keep babies under 1 year out of direct sunlight. Once infants turn 6 months of age, begin using a sunscreen for added protection. It’s important to protect your child’s eyes by using plastic lens sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- Children should have arms and legs covered when out in the sun.
- Instead of wearing baseball caps, they should wear hats with a wide brim, which provides more sun protection.
- When children are playing in the water, make sure to use waterproof sunscreen.
- For more information for protecting your child from the sun click here.
7.Protect your Eyes
- Radiation from the sun can damage cells in the structures of your eyes. UV radiation from the sun may increase the risk of developing cataracts later in life. UV radiation can also contribute to the development of skin cancer on the eyelid or on the surface of the eye. This damage can be prevented by protecting your eyes with sunglasses that protect against 100% UVA and UVB rays. Wearing a hat with a wide brim all the way around when out in the sun. Legionnaire style caps (caps with a flap a back flap) are also recommended to help protect the neck, ears and face.
8.Spot Check Your Moles
- Examine your moles and freckles every month to check for any changes. See your health care provider immediately if you notice:
- a mole or discoloration that appears suddenly or begins to change
- a sore that does not heal
- areas of skin that are red and bumpy, bleed or are itchy