After spending the last few summers indoors because of the pandemic, it is only natural that most of us are inclined to be outside for as much time as possible. However, the beginning of summertime can be an excellent reminder of the importance of being proactive about sun protection, particularly regarding ultraviolet (UV) rays.
July has been designated as UV Safety Month, making it an ideal time to educate oneself about safe sun exposure, when to avoid it, and how to take the necessary precautions to prevent harmful UV rays’ side effects. It is common knowledge that prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can be detrimental to skin health.
What is UV light?
Health and safety in the summertime is everyone’s responsibility. UV rays are a form of radiation that can be found naturally in the sun or artificially in cosmetic treatments like tanning beds and manicure lamps. The sun emits different types of UV wavelengths, such as UVA and UVB, but artificial UV rays have been proven to be more harmful to the skin and overall health.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in various skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous carcinoma. In addition, frequent sunburns can increase the risk of melanoma, one of the most aggressive types of skin cancer.
Risks of sun exposure for older adults
It is important for everyone, regardless of age, to protect themselves from the sun and UV rays. However, it is even more crucial for older adults as they are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, twice as much as younger people. Other reasons to be extra protective of older adults include:
Naturally aged skin does not heal or recover as fast
Age-related low autoimmunity might affect the body’s ability to fight skin cancer cells
They are more likely to develop eye damage, such as cataracts or vision loss
UV safety tips for Summer
Besides the good feelings of being outside in warm weather, sun exposure can be beneficial for vitamin D production and mental well-being. That’s why, with proper precautions, we can enjoy a little sun. A few preventative measures could be taken to avoid these adverse effects while still enjoying the outdoors.
While skin cancer is prevalent among older adults, it is also one of the most preventable. At Ascend Hospice Care, we would love to see you and your loved ones stay safe and protect yourselves from too much sun exposure. Enjoy the summertime!