From the ABC 7 Weather team

Melanoma Monday: Time to protect yourself from UV Rays

May 6, 2013 - 08:17 AM
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Sunburn can happen even on Cloudy days.

Spring is here and that means many of us are spending a lot more time outdoors.  We may have gotten out of the habit of applying sunscreen over the winter.  Here's a common conversation at my house:  "But Mom... it's not even sunny out. Why do I have to wear sunscreen?"  I admit it. My kids absolutely hate slathering on the thick white lotion that protects them from harmful ultra violet rays.  It's even a battle some days. But, I make them do it anyway, and we wear it year round.  Today is Melanoma Monday, as declared by the American Academy of Dermatology. They would like you to "Spot the Orange" and wear that color today to remind others to protect themselves. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer?  And, it's highly preventable. Here's is today's forecast Ultra Violet Index. 

UV Forecast May 6th

 Wear sunscreen with UVA and UVB proction with an SPF of 30 or greater and apply it every few hours.  If at the beach, make sure it is waterproof.  On a day when the UV Index is "Extreme" it takes less than 15 minutes to get burned. Here is a chart to calculate sun exposure/burn times.  

Sun Exposure/Burn Times Chart

You can get your own personalized UV forecast by entering your zip code here.  The sun's rays are strongest from 10a until 2p.  Avoid prolonged exposure during this time.  Staying in the shade or taking shade "breaks" is recommended, so is wearing light weight long sleeves and pants if you're going to be in direct sun at length.  A hat can cover and protect your head and face. And sunglasses with UV protection are a must.  Remember white sandy beaches and water reflect the rays and can double your exposure.  Memorial Day weekend is just a few weeks away. Check out the average UV Index for May.

Average May Ultra Violet Index

  Did I mention that sun damage makes you look OLD?  Ever heard of sun spots? Sun damage in your younger years can translate to darker discoloration of your skin. Check out this image from the Mayo Clinic. 

Photo of Sun Damage from The Mayo Clinic

 Not a lot of sun expected until Friday in the D.C. area.  Make sure you pull out the sunscreen now, and check if its expired.  If so, time to freshen up and stay sun safe.



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