If you live in the far northern part of the country, it is easy to forget that spring is arriving in the southern states and that now is the time to really pay attention to sun protection. So for the next few weeks I will take each letter in SunAWARE and let you know how to achieve the protection suggested. Starting with A – Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan – this blog will discuss ways to seek shade.
Most organizations concerned with preventing skin cancer recommend finding shade as the first line of defense when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Seems like an easy solution – trees, umbrellas, canopies, all offer some protection and are readily available. However, shade from direct sun rays does not always protect from sun rays that bounce or are reflected from surrounding surfaces – sand, water, concrete, building sides etc. The UVR reflected from these surfaces does reach your skin and eyes and can cause harm. This is why even in shade you should use a combination of protective methods – sun protective clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen.
Further, adding a side to your umbrella or canopy will create block to the reflective rays from the surfaces mentioned.
Recently I was made aware that there is an easy way to attach a ‘drop-cloth’ or ‘shade curtain’ to the side of beach umbrellas and other shade structures which creates a protective side. (I used to try to do this with beach towels, but they fell off or were pulled off by wet children.) The additional side created by this curtain will block reflected UV rays while doubling shade area.
The Melanoma International Foundation has approved ezShade and I would be remiss not to pass on the information about this important new and easy way to create more comprehensive protection.
ezShade attaches to the side of beach umbrellas or canopies to create an instant “wall” which blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays. It’s lightweight and rolls down into a tote that can be tucked into your beach bag.
Another way to create shade is to find shade sails. These can be attached to poles or the sides of buildings. They are used frequently in parks and school playgrounds and are well worth the investment as they provide years of shade protection. Again, however, sun protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen should be used in conjunction with shade to provide comprehensive protection.
Start the spring by remember to A- Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade and never indoor tan.
Be Safe! Be SunAWARE!
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