What are simple action steps for sun protection?

Online Q&A
25 July 2008

Q: What are simple action steps for sun protection?

A: Shade, sunglasses, clothing and hats provide the best protection – applying sunscreen becomes necessary on those parts of the body that remain exposed, like the face and hands. Sunscreen should never be used to prolong the duration of sun exposure.

  • Limit time in the midday sun. The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Take particular care when in the sun during these hours.

  • Watch for the UV index. This important resource helps you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays. When the UV Index is moderate or above, sun protection is required.

  • Use shade wisely. Seek shade when UV rays are the most intense, but keep in mind that shade structures such as trees, umbrellas or canopies do not offer complete sun protection.

  • Wear protective clothing. A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for your eyes, ears, face, and the back or your neck. Sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection will greatly reduce eye damage from sun exposure. Tightly woven, loose fitting clothes that covers as much of the body as possible will provide additional protection from the sun.

  • Use sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30+ liberally to exposed skin and re-apply every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors.

  • Avoid sunlamps and tanning parlours. Sunbeds and sunlamps increase the risk of skin cancer and can damage unprotected eyes. They should be avoided entirely.

  • Protect children. Children are generally more susceptible to environmental hazards than adults. During outdoor activities, they should be protected from high UV exposure as above, and babies should always remain in the shade.

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