How can I protect myself against getting too much UV radiation?

Here are some simple steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect you from getting too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as possible.
  • Put on sunscreen with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps—the UV rays from them are as dangerous as the UV rays from the sun.

It's a good idea to schedule a skin examination with your health care professional, including your primary care physician (PCP), to catch early signs of cancer before they become a serious threat.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

The best defenses against getting too much harmful UV radiation are protective clothing, shade and timing. Put these points on your checklist:

  • Don’t get sunburned. Red, sore, blistered or peeling skin means far too much sun—and raises your skin cancer risk.
  • Unless you're swimming, wear clothes that provide adequate coverage. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants provide the best protection from UV rays—and they don’t coat your skin with goop.
  • Find shade—or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella or take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade—they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin.
  • Plan around the sun. Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower. UV radiation peaks at midday.
  • Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. Good shades protect your eyes from UV radiation that causes cataracts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.