WRIGHTSVILLE, Pa. — When it’s 90 degrees outside and feels even hotter, your first focus may be getting some cold water and a fan. Dermatologists, though, say in addition to protecting yourself in the heat, you should also be protecting yourself from harmful UV rays.
“The sun isn’t stronger necessarily when it’s warmer outside,"
On sunnier days the sun is stronger. A good way to gauge that is to look at the UV index,” Dr. Theresa Zaleski, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon with WellSpan Health said. “The sun tends to be stronger in the summer months and midday, but anytime the sun is shining, there’s the potential to get sun damage and get a sunburn.”
Many factors go into the level of UV exposure each day, including ozone depletion and seasonal and weather variation. As clouds only block about 10% of UV rays, you can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
The UV index in Harrisburg is expected to peak at 8.5 around 1 p.m. on Aug. 3. That’s considered a “very high” level of exposure, when sunburns can happen in just 10 to 15 minutes in the sun.
Dermatologists suggest limiting time outdoors and staying in the shade especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you do go outside, take precautions like applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every two hours and wear sun-protecting clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeve shirts and pants, if possible.