July: National UV Safety Month

By Emily Koeppel, B.A.
Graduate Research Assistants in Human Development & Family Studies,
Colorado State University

July: National UV Safety Month

July is a great month to spend outside, enjoying the weather and playing with grandchildren. However, the exposure to sun that we get from being outside is not always good for our skin. July is national UV safety month and it is important to take time this month to make sure that you and your grandchildren are safe from the harmful rays of the sun.

Although it is almost universally known to put sunscreen on when heading off to the pool for the day, there are a few things about sun safety that are often overlooked. Over exposure to sun can cause extensive skin damage and even skin cancer in the future. Therefore, it is important to keep these pointers in mind when spending time outside:

  • UV rays from the sun are still dangerous even if it seems cloudy outside. Oftentimes, people skip out of sunscreen if the clouds are out. However, even on a cloudy day, 80% of UV rays reach your skin. Be sure to apply sunscreen whenever you are outside for extensive periods, even if the sun does not seem to be shining that bright.
  • Be sure to protect all areas on the body from the sun. Often times, there are areas that we forget to put sunscreen on, such as the scalp, back of ears, or lips, that can easily get sunburnt. Remember to apply sunscreen or SPF lip balm to these sensitive skin spots.
  • Although several sunscreens are water-resistant, none of them are waterproof. This means that when you or your grandchild gets out of a pool or a water fountain, sunscreen needs to be reapplied immediately. You can never apply too much sunscreen! A good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen every one to two hours when outdoors for the whole day.
  • Limit times outdoors during peak sun times. From 11am to 2pm, the sun is the brightest and the most dangerous. If your grandchildren want to go to the pool or head outside to play, consider waiting until 3 or 4pm in order to avoid the most dangerous UV rays.
  • Last but not least, be sure to stay hydrated while in the sun. Never leave the house without a couple of water bottles.

Enjoy the summer weather and the outdoor activities with your grandchildren this month but always remember to practice sun safety. If you are ever unsure about how dangerous the sun is during the day, check the UV index for the day at this website. Type in your zip code and find out on a scale of 1 to 11 how high the UV is for that day. This is a great resource for other seasons of the year when the sun does not seem so bright, but it can still be harmful.