JULY IS ULTRAVIOLET (UV) AWARENESS MONTH
UV is short for "Ultraviolet Radiation" and is part of the energy we receive from the Sun. No matter where we are in the World as long as there is sunshine we are being exposed to some level of UV radiation. However, UV strength and your risk of exposure varies depending on your location, the time of year, time of day, altitude, cloud cover and ozone levels. The level of UV and your risk of exposure is represented by the UV index and you can find what the UV index is in your local newspaper, TV or internet.
Over exposure to UV can have serious health consequences such as skin cancer (both non-malignant and malignant melanoma), premature aging of the skin, cataracts, eye cancer, snow blindness and immune system suppression.
UV light is divided into three catagories: UVA, UVB and UVC. Each type can be damaging to health in different ways.
UVA: UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB and exposure to high doses of UVA can cause indirect DNA damage, age your skin, cause skin cancer and damage your eyes. UVA does not cause sunburn, and since SPF only indicates a level of protection against sunburn, it is important to use broad spectrum sun lotions, which will offer protection against UVA and UVB. Sunbeds give off mainly UVA radiation and have been classified as carcinogenic in some countries.
UVB: UVB radiation does not enter as deeply into the skin as UVA and is mostly absorbed by the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). UVB is more likely to cause sunburns and is primarily responsible for causing skin cancer. UVB is associated with the development of malignant melanoma, which can be fatal if left undiagnosed and untreated.
UVC: UVC is the most damaging of all three types but is removed by the ozone layer, so it does not reach the Earth's surface. However, continued damage to the ozone layer by CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and halon gases may allow UVC radiation to reach the Earth's surface. This is a potential problem in Australia as the ozone layer there can be relatively thin.
Now that we have some information on UV radiation--next week we will discuss sunscreen information and sun protection. Till then--TAKE PROTECTION FROM THE SUN!!