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Sunlight supports life on earth. It is important for our physical and emotional well-being. Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays. These invisible rays of energy can damage the skin and eyes. Children, the elderly and people with fair skin are at a higher risk for UV damage. The main source of UV radiation (UVR) is the sun, but indoor tanning equipment, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, are also sources. Exposure to UVR is the most important risk factor for developing skin cancer.
The 3 types of UVR are based on the length (wavelength) of UV rays:
The amount of UVR a person receives from the sun depends on many factors, such as the time of day and the season.
The UV index informs Canadians about the strength of the sun’s UV rays. The UV index predicts the sun’s intensity using a scale that ranges from 0 to 11+.
Sun damage builds up over time. Each time the skin is exposed to UVR and becomes tanned or burned, individual skin cells and DNA are damaged. In addition to damaging the skin, UVR can also cause cataracts and may affect the immune system.
Just like the sun, indoor tanning equipment (such as tanning beds or sun lamps) gives off UV rays that cause skin damage. Indoor tanning devices can give off UVR at levels up to 5 times stronger than the midday summer sun.
You get vitamin D by exposing the skin to sunlight and through your diet and vitamin supplements.
Take steps to protect yourself and your family from the sun. Check your skin regularly and report any changes to your doctor.
I was staying in St. John’s all by my lonesome because my wife was too sick to travel with me. Daffodil Place was my lifeline.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support program is a telephone support service that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with specially trained volunteers.