Use precautions to protect against UV rays

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2018

You don’t need to go to the beach in order to get a sunburn, heat exhaustion or sun stroke. Prolonged sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer (melanoma). Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America.

According to, July in UV Safety Month and the American Cancer Society has a comprehensive breakdown on their website on how the sun is linked to skin cancer and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

These conditions can happen anywhere when the sun in high and the temperature hot. So whether your mowing your lawn or having a day at Norris Lake, Pine Mountain State Park or Cumberland Gap National Park, sun safety should always be a priority.

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To put it simply, UV (ultraviolet light) radiation, which emanates from the sun and devices such as tanning beds, is what can contribute to the development of skin cancer. If the UV radiation is high enough in energy, it can affect DNA in our bodies cells — thus causing melanoma. UV radiation isn’t strong enough to push deep into the body, that is why it affects the skin the most.

Ultraviolet rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 pm. Naturally, they are strongest during the spring and summer. Alternately, the farther up the equator you are, the less severe the UV rays become.

Cloud cover can reduce or even block UV rays if the coverage is dense enough, but it depends on the kinds of clouds that are present in the sky. Some clouds can actually reflect UV rays. With that said, it should never be assumed that UV light is not reaching you if the day is cloudy.

Luckily, preventing skin cancer is relatively easy and detecting it is also easy. All it takes is an examination from a dermatologist.

Consistent outdoor activity heightens the risks of developing skin cancer. If you have a job or hobbies that require you to be outdoors, simply use sunscreen, put on a shirt, hat and sunglasses. These easy fixes can go a long way. These days, there are plenty of options for clothing and sunglasses that are designed to block and protect from UV rays.

Also, if you’re going to be out in the sun for a long period of time, find some shade to rest in off and on. It is also recommended you avoid using tanning beds and sun lamps.