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July is UV Safety Awareness Month

Friday, July 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
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July 7, 2017

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Pharmacy Association (APA) recognizes that July is a month for Ultraviolet Light safety.  While it feels good being outdoors, we have to acknowledge the fact that it is not all glitter and gold.  Too much sun has its own disadvantages. The chronic effects of ultraviolet light [UV] exposure can be much more serious, even life threatening, and include premature aging of the skin, suppression of the immune system, damage to the eyes, and skin cancer. Studies have shown that 20 percent of cataract cases are a result of UV damage. 

Ultraviolet radiation refers to the high energy light that come from the sun, invisible to the naked eye.  Ultraviolet light is measured in a unit known as nanometers [nm] and three types of UV rays are classified depending on their strength. These rays are UVA, UVB and UVC. 

UVC:  below 280nm.  The upper atmosphere absorbs these rays so that they never reach us.  Fortunately people on earth do not need to get protection from these rays

UVB:  between 315-380nm.  These rays do manage to make it to the earth’s surface and they are noted for causing damage to sight.  Specifically, they can cause photokeratitis or “snow blindness.”  UVB rays are also bad for the skin, causing sunburn and some skin cancers.  Research has shown that these are strongest during the summer and at higher altitudes.

UVA:  320-420nm and are considered the most dangerous.  They are known for causing chronic eye damage.  Studies have indicated that these rays get absorbed by the lenses of our eyes leading to damage of the retina.  UVA rays also contribute to the occurrence of cataracts.  Not to be limited to just eye damage, UVA rays are also a major cause of aging.  They are strong and can pass through clouds, glass, water and clothing. 

Preventing the effects of ultraviolet light is simple.  First and foremost, limit your exposure to the sun.  In addition you should never head out without some form of UV protection.  Sunglasses that block 100% UVA and UVB rays are a must.  Even better try to wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your skin.  It is known that the sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so avoid being out during this time.

A general guideline to follow is to always wear sunscreen.  Wear sunscreen every day, even if you plan to be outside a short time. For best results, apply it generously 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside to all exposed areas—don’t forget your feet and ears. (A lip balm works best for your lips.) Always reapply after swimming or sweating and about every two hours or as often as the package suggests.

If you are interested in having a pharmacist speak with your community group about Ultraviolet Light Safety and other topics about Sun Safety please contact the APA office. 

The Alabama Pharmacy Association is a nonprofit professional organization with over 2,500 members statewide. The APA offers continuing education programs for pharmacists and technicians, and members take a leading role in lobbying for pharmacy at the state and national level. Established in 1881, APA is the oldest professional organization for pharmacy in the state. APA members represent all practices of pharmacy and are committed to their profession and their patients.


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