CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Did you know that the average T-shirt has a lower than 15 SPF rating when talking about protecting your child from harmful UV rays?
It takes only 15 minutes for sun to damage your skin. And cases of skin cancer top the list of cancers nationally, with 20% of Americans and roughly as many West Virginians falling victim, reports West Virginia Health Cooperative, Inc., the Mountain State’s new nonprofit health insurer.
“Welcome to the season when the sun, like your shadow, goes everywhere. Whether you’re soaking it up in Lewisburg or Ft. Lauderdale, Morgantown or Myrtle Beach, you’ll need the same protection from the power of its rays,” said a WVHC spokesperson.
While a small amount of exposure to sunlight is healthy and pleasurable, too much can be dangerous,” according to CAMC Health System in Charleston. “Measures should be taken to prevent overexposure to sunlight in order to reduce the risk of cancers, premature aging of the skin, the development of cataracts, and other harmful effects.”
“Generously apply a broad spectrum of water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 to all exposed skin,” CAMC suggests. Make sure you reapply roughly two hours after sweating or swimming.
Tanning beds are something to shun, CAMC warns. “Ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.”
Sunglasses not only lessen UV exposure but the risk of getting cataracts. Try wrap-around sunglasses, which best block intruding UV rays from the sides, officials suggest.
Getting back to the average T-shirt, health officials remind everyone that exposure to UV rays is greater with a wet T-shirt than a dry one.