With Summer in full swing, it is no surprise that most of us are spending a lot of time outdoors. Especially in Michigan, it is special to savor the time in the sun and warmer temperatures while we have them. However, spending too much time outdoors in the summer unprotected can cause some health issues. Below, learn more about the risks of too much sun exposure and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Common Risks of UV Exposure
- Skin cancer.
- Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It accounts for 75% of deaths related to skin cancer and is now considered one of the most common forms of cancer in Americans.
- Painful side effects from sunburn.
- Blistering, peeling, inflamed, itchy, and red skin can occur with more severe sunburns.
- Premature aging, sunspots, and other skin damage.
- Up to 90% of visible skin changes can be attributed to sun damage.
- Cataracts and other eye damage.
- The World Health Organization estimates that up to 20 percent of cataracts worldwide may be caused by overexposure to UV radiation.
- Immune system suppression.
- Overexposure of UV rays to cells makes them less effective in fighting off infections.
Benefits of Limited UV Exposure
Although there are some dangers of being in the sun too much, the World Health Organization has shown that there are several benefits. UV rays can create vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. Your body needs calcium to build and maintain healthy bones. According to the World Health Organization, UV rays can help treat some health conditions. Doctors might suggest it to people who have eczema, psoriasis, rickets, or jaundice.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
- Wear sunscreen and reapply after swimming or physical activity.
- Plan your time outside based on the UV index. Try to aim for hours where the UV levels are at their lowest, making them the least harmful.
- Take breaks every so often and keep an umbrella handy.
- Cover up with light layers.
- Wear sunglasses that have UV protection in them.
When Should I See a doctor? When noticing these symptoms:
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles.
- A mole that changes in color, size, or feel, or that bleeds.
- A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black.
- A painful lesion that itches or burns.
Click here to read the full list of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and signs of possible skin cancer. Keep your sunscreen handy and stay safe this summer!