We might have heard words like “Wear sunscreen”, “Protect yourself from sun rays”
Do you know why??
Let’s educate ourselves on Ultraviolet rays and why we should protect ourselves against it.
What’s ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds.
While it has some benefits for people, including the creation of Vitamin D, it also can cause health risks. Our natural source of UV radiation is the sun.
UV radiation is present in sunlight, and constitutes about 10% of the total electromagnetic radiation output from the Sun. It is also produced by electric arcs and specialized lights, such as mercury-vapor lamps, tanning lamps, and black lights.
What is Radiation?
Radiation is the emission (sending out) of energy from any source. There are many types of radiation, ranging from very high-energy (high-frequency) radiation – like x-rays and gamma rays – to very low-energy (low-frequency) radiation – like radio waves. UV rays are in the middle of this spectrum. They have more energy than visible light, but not as much as x-rays.
According to “American cancer society”, There are also different types of UV rays, based on how much energy they have. Higher-energy UV rays are a form of ionizing radiation. This means they have enough energy to remove an electron from (ionize) an atom or molecule. Ionizing radiation can damage the DNA (genes) in cells, which in turn may lead to cancer. But even the highest-energy UV rays don’t have enough energy to penetrate deeply into the body, so their main effect is on the skin.
Types of UV Radiation
UV radiation is divided into 3 main groups:
UVA rays have the least energy among UV rays.
These rays can cause skin cells to age and can cause some indirect damage to cells’ DNA. UVA rays are mainly linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, but they are also thought to play a role in some skin cancers.
UVB rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays.
They can damage the DNA in skin cells directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers.
UVC rays have more energy than the other types of UV rays.
Fortunately, because of this, they react with ozone high in our atmosphere and don’t reach the ground, so they are not normally a risk factor for skin cancer. But UVC rays can also come from some man-made sources, such as arc welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizing bulbs used to kill bacteria and other germs (such as in water, air, food, or on surfaces).
How are people exposed to UV radiation?
Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, even though UV rays make up only a small portion of the sun’s rays.
The strength of the UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors, such as:
Time of day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
Season of the Year: During Spring and summer, radiation is stronger
Clouds: These may have various effects. However, it’s important to note that UV radiation can penetrate the clouds.
Contents of the air: Ozone in the upper atmosphere, for example, filters out some UV radiation.
The above are a few of the various means of exposure.
Why do we need to protect ourselves from UV Radiation?
According to some experts,Ultraviolet radiation is a leading cause of Skin cancer. Exposure to too much ultraviolet radiation can affect our health.
UV radiation exposure can put you at risk for a variety of eye-related conditions including cataracts, macular degeneration, and eyelid cancer.
Exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis.
It can cause Skin cancer (melanoma and nonmelanoma)
It can cause immune suppression
Scientists have found that overexposure to UV radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses. For example, the skin normally mounts a defense against foreign invaders such as cancers and infections. But overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the immune system, reducing the skin’s ability to protect against these invaders.
How to protect yourself from UV Radiation
Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
Consider options to protect your children.
Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
Wear wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher, for both UVA and UVB protection.
There are several other ways everyone can get to protect themselves. Hopefully, this post will be beneficial to all and sundry as we work to attain the best of our own health.