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NHM Health Focus:
UV Safety

July 2009

      UV Safety     

About UV and UV Exposure

UV and Your Eyes

UV and Your Skin

July is UV Safety Month. Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and protective clothing are all recommended as protection against excessive ultraviolet radiation (UV).

Do you know why you need this protection? The answer is that while small amounts of UV are essential for the production of Vitamin D, excessive UV may result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eye and immune system. (WHO)

But there are other UV-related issues that you should be aware of. For example, in addition to causing cancer, cataracts, and other potentially threatening health problems, the photochemical effects of UV radiation can be "exacerbated by chemical agents including birth control pills, tetracycline, sulphathizole, cyclamates, antidepressants, coal tar distillates found in antidandruff shampoos, lime oil, and some cosmetics." Health Physics Society.

By giving yourself a short refresher course in the dangers of UV and taking a few simple precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of sun-related illnesses. The following steps are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, "If you must be in the sun, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, even on cloudy days." (AAD)

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to the UV Safety:

Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Indoor Tanning
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Eye Safety
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Sunlight: the Good and the Bad
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - National Public Health Week
Activities Exchange: Fellows Collection - Teaching Biology through Problem-Based Activities

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