We all need some sun exposure — it's the top source of vitamin D, which helps our bodies absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones.
But it doesn't take much time in the sun for most people to get the vitamin D they need. And repeated unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer.
The sun radiates light to the earth, and part of that light consists of invisible UV rays. When these rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage.
Sunlight contains three types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. What's important is to protect your family from exposure to UVA and UVB, the rays that cause skin damage.
First, seek shade when the sun is at its highest overhead and therefore strongest (usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the northern hemisphere).
One of the best ways to protect your family from the sun is to cover up and shield skin from UV rays.
Every child needs sun protection. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all kids — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sun exposure damages the eyes as well as the skin. The best way to protect eyes is to wear sunglasses.
Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, even kids with skin that tends not to burn easily can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications.
Don't forget: Be a good role model by consistently using sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater, wearing sunglasses, and limiting your time in the sun.
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