We’ve talked about why the sun’s rays are harmful to your eyes and your child’s sensitive eyes, and some safety measures you can take to protect yourself and your family. Today, we’re taking it one step further to talk about some risk factors that could potentially amplify the powerful and harmful rays of the sun that you may not have been aware of. Here are five factors that can actually put you at a greater risk of damage from the sun.
Location, Location, Location
UV index basically refers to the measurement of sunburn-causing UV intensity in an area. Coppertone notes that the UV index where you are in the world is dependent upon a couple of things. Firstly, according to All About Vision, UV levels are greater closer to the equator. As you move further north or south away from the Earth’s middle, UV levels decrease slightly. According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, or NIWA, variances in the Earth’s ozone layer can also cause UV indexes to change from place to place. Where the ozone layer is thicker, UV levels are lower, while conversely, where ozone is very thin, the UV index will be higher.
Certain reflective surfaces can actually act to refocus the sun’s UV rays onto you once they’ve hit the Earth. UV levels are higher in spaces that are wide open, like a soccer field, but they are even higher when the surface in that location is reflective. Surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays include sand – especially white beach sand – snow and water. That means that even if you’re snowboarding in the dead of winter, the UV index in the area is probably very high.
Speaking of skiing, UV levels are higher in areas with high altitude. Since the land is closer to the sun, the rays are more powerful and apt to do harm. Keep this in mind if you’re hiking up a mountain this summer or spending time at a higher elevation.
Some medications like birth control pills can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you take medication regularly, talk to your doctor about any possibility of sun exposure risks, and take extra precautions to make sure that you don’t sunburn.
The sun is at its strongest, with the highest UV index, from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., though this may vary depending on your location. In general, when the sun is the highest in the sky – from a few hours before noon to a few hours after – is the most dangerous window to be outside and you should be sure to wear your sunglasses and a fresh layer of sunscreen.
Keep these details in mind the next time you walk out the door, and remember: even if it’s cloudy, the sun’s rays are still beating down on you. Don’t forget to order sunglasses from Real Kids Shades to make sure that your child’s eyes are protected, and be sure to keep the sunscreen handy to keep him or her safe whenever you’re spending a day out in the sun. Take a look at our full line of youth shades and glasses for young adults and place an order for your son or daughter’s favorite today!