Protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays this summer

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by Susan Hanna

It’s been a hot and dry summer so far, with high or very high UV (ultraviolet) levels many days.

  When UV values are high, it’s important to protect yourself and your loved ones from the damage that sun exposure can cause.

  Here are some tips from Almonte family physician Dr. Christiane Deschenes.

 Know what damage the sun can cause – “In the short term, excessive sun exposure can cause a painful sunburn,” says Dr. Deschenes. “Over the longer term, it can cause skin cancer.”

 Limit your time in the sun – “Being in the sun for 10-15 minutes no more than a couple of times a week will give your body enough Vitamin D,” says Dr. Deschenes. “Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when UV rays are at their peak.”

 Cover up – “Nothing is better than a physical barrier to protect you from the sun, such as a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a wide-brimmed hat,” explains Dr. Deschenes.

  “Keep in mind that not all fabric provides maximum protection from the sun, but you can find clothing made of material that provides 100 per cent protection.”

 Wear sunscreen – “If you are going to be in the sun for more than 10 or 15 minutes with your skin exposed, apply sunscreen,” advises Dr. Deschenes.

  “Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and, preferably, 30.” Make sure you apply enough sunscreen, and cover all exposed areas. “Be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or if you are perspiring,” adds Dr. Deschenes.

 Protect your eyes – Sun exposure may also contribute to the formation of cataracts. “It is important to protect your eyes from harmful rays,” says Dr. Deschenes.

  “Talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist about sunglasses that will block all types of UV rays.”