Sun is the powerful source of immense energy essential for the sustenance of life on the earth. But with all the benefits it produces for us, it also gives some unwanted gifts in form of Ultra-violet rays which is injurious to our health. The hazards are more in the tropical region like Asia, Africa, Australia, Central & South America and Caribbean since they receive the high level of UV rays from the Sun.
UV rays have few benefits like it helps in vitamin D synthesis and helpful for treatment of few diseases like Psoriasis, but the hazards overrules the benefits most of the time. Prolonged unprotected exposure to UV rays gives rise to short term as well as long term problems like tanning, wrinkles, dark patch, burning, erythema, eye problems etc. UV rays are known to be the commonest reason for most of the skin cancer. So becoming aware of the UV rays is very important so one can have effective protection against it to minimise the hazards.
LET US KNOW THE UV RAYS WITH LITTLE MORE DETAIL
There are mainly 3 types.
UVA rays are known to produce long term skin damage like wrinkles by damaging skin cells by aging effect.
UVB rays are known to produce more severe damage to the skin by damaging the skin DNA and most common rays responsible for skin cancer
UVC rays cannot enter into our atmosphere and not known to produces any damage
HOW ONE CAN ENCOUNTER A UV RAY’S EXPOSURE?
UV rays are distributed in all over the atmosphere. Everyone is exposed to it but of different intensity. Number factors are responsible for the intensity of the UV rays in the surrounding and can easily be understood as follows.
Geographic area- Highest in the tropical area Closer to equator higher the exposure
- Time of day– Highest during 10am to 2 pm
- Time of year– Highest in summer and lowest in monsoon
- Cloud cover– Higher the clods lower the UV exposure
- Sun elevation– Higher the Sun in the sky higher the UV exposure
- Reflection from Ground– Highest in snowy area (80%) and lowest in beach sand (15%)
Altitude: Higher the altitude higher the UV exposure, UV radiation increases by 10 to 15% with every 1000 meter increase in altitude
WHAT IS THE PREVALENCE OF UV RAYS IN INDIA?
Since the India is a part of tropical region it has high amount of sun exposure as compare to other countries. India is having higher UV index as suggested by WHO standards. The average UV index rate in India is 9. In the mid summer time the UV index reaches up to 13 in some of the areas which lies in critical zone and very dangerous for skin health. Increasing number of skin cancer cases have been reported since few years, are suggestive of the severity of the UV rays damaging the health. 25% of all cases are just because of lack knowledge and awareness regarding the UV rays hazards.
Indian people are generally borne with brown skin are naturally protected against the UV rays effect. But higher exposure to these rays can produce harmful effects. Usual effects are like that of sunburn and gives rise to temporary skin symptoms. While travelling to India one should wisely choose the time period after evaluating the UV index by weather forecast. Exposure to UV rays with bare skin can lead to inevitable health hazard.
This damage can readily be eradicated by following few wise steps protecting the skin from the Sun.
HOW TO PROTECT SELF FROM UV RAYS?
It is merely impossible to avoid the UV rays altogether, but can be protected from major health hazards by following some safety measures. Following are few tips which easy to remember and simple to follow. Remember the word- SAFE SUN
SHADE- Seek for shade wherever possible while outside
AVOID- Try to avoid sun exposure during pick sunny time that is 10 am to 2 pm
FULLY COVER- Cover maximum skin area with full sleeve cloths and wear hat while outdoor
EYE PROTECTION- Always wear sunglasses when going outside to minimise eye damage
SUN SCREEN- Use sunscreen protection giving protection against both UVA and UVB rays
Umbrella- Have an umbrella handy and use even in light sunshine
Never rely on makeup- Make up claiming sun protection will not save your skin so use sunscreen with make up
So it is good have sun bath when travelling to a beautiful beach but stay protected with the adequate anti UV protection and stay healthy. ☺
Dr Tulsi Dabhi
“Swastik Clinic”, India.