Understanding UV Rays

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of light. The spectrum of colors that allow us to see things is actually dependent upon how long or short a wave length the light for that color is. The shorter the length, the bluer the color, with violet being the shortest color that humans can see. Hence the name “ultraviolet” when referring to light that we can’t perceive with our eyes. We are able to sense UV rays in other forms though, such as heat and also the effects that it can leave us with such as a burn. UV radiation is an electromagnetic wave which is shorter than visible light but longer than an X-ray wave. It’s amazing to me how powerful something that we can’t see really is! Did you know that the government actually forecasts the UV intensity like a regular weather forecast? Knowing the UV intensity of the area you live in on a particular day can help you decide how much protection you’ll need from the sun. The following gadget and information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/.

1-2 LOW

You can safely enjoy being outside. Wear sunglasses on bright days. If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen SPF 15+.
In winter, reflection off snow can nearly double UV strength.

3-5 MODERATE
Take precautions if you will be outside, such as wearing a hat and sunglasses and using sunscreen SPF 15+. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

6-7 HIGH
Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen SPF 15+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade during midday hours.

8-10 VERY HIGH
Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.
Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

11+ EXTREME
Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A shirt, hat and sunscreen are a must, and be sure you seek shade.
Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.

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