The National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention reported in their January 2003 newsletter that research shows only 3 percent of Americans routinely wear sunscreen during the fall months, and only 2 percent during the winter months. However, you can still get a sunburn and snow blindness during these months. The colder temperatures do not block the UV rays and reflections off the snow and higher altitudes can make matters even worse. You may be causing yourself significant, long-term damage by not protecting yourself.
1. Limit Time in the Mid-day Sun - The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
2. Wear a Hat - A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
3. Cover Up - Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing is a way to protect yourself from the sun's UV rays.
4. Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation.
5. Always Use Sunscreen - Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
6. Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors - The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
7. Watch for the UV Index - The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.
I am going to keep my sun protective items out to use this winter. I am trusting that you will do the same so that you can enjoy the outdoors while in the cold, on the ice, or in the snow. Have a terrific and safe winter! Author unknown.