UV index or ultraviolet index can be described as an international measurement standard of the ultraviolet radiation at a particular time and place. The UV Index offers forecasts on a daily basis of the expected risks of being overexposed to the sun. The index using a scale of 0 to 10+ predicts UV intensity levels with 0 stating a minimal risk of being overexposed and 10+ meaning a very high risk of being overexposed. The aim of the UV index is to enable people protect themselves effectively from UV radiation. To us it is an inciation for when and how to tan savely.
Though UV radiation has few health benefits when in moderation, on the other hand it can be quite dangerous and harmful when it is in excess which can cause problems such as sunburn. This is why public health organizations recommend that people who spend a lot of time outdoors protect themselves by putting sunscreen on their skin with T-Shirts as well as wearing sunglasses and hats when the UV Index is high.
UV INDEX VALUES AND CATEGORIES OF EXPOSURE
0-2: this is a minimal risk which means you can be protected sufficiently enough by wearing a hat
3-4: this is a low risk which means you can be protected wearing a hat along with putting on a sunscreen with SPF 15
5-6: this is a moderate risk and you will have to step up your level of protection wearing a hat along with putting on a sunscreen with SPF 15 as well as staying in place cover and shade is available
7-9: this is high risk and to ensure you well protected you will have to follow the steps above as well as staying indoors between the hours of 10am and 4pm
10+: this is very high and to ensure you well protected you will have to follow the steps above and if possible you should stay in doors
What the above illustration basically means is that between 0-4 you can sunburn in about an hour, between 4-7 you can sunburn in about 30 minutes and from 7-9 you can sunburn in 20 minutes while above 9 you can sunburn in less than 15 minutes.
TIPS FOR SUN SAFETY
Regularly apply a lot of sunscreen to the parts of your body that are exposed using at least SPF 20 as it provides protection from ultraviolet radiation. You can do this every two hours even days that are cloudy and after sweating or swimming. When needed seek a shade to get cover especially between the hours of 10am-4pm. Be careful when you are near water, sand or snow as the rays from the sun are reflected and intesify exposure to sunlight. A great way to know how much exposed you are to UV radiation is your shadow. When outdoors and your shadow is taller your risk is lower but if your shadow is shorter then you are exposed to high levels of UV radiation. Also check the UV index to insure you are tanning at a save time of the day.
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