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Shorts?  Check.  T-shirt?  Check.  Flip-flops?  Check.  It’s official.  Summer is almost here!

When the sun starts beaming down those glorious rays, it’s natural to want to be out in it and bask in the warmth. You may already be thinking about laying out in the sun and working on your tan, but wait- there’s danger up there!

Exposure to UV rays can have serious health consequences.  According to, skin cancer is the most common for of cancer in the U.S.  In addition to skin cancer, damage from the sun’s UV rays can age your skin prematurely and damage your eyes.

Luckily, you can enjoy the sunlight safely by following these tips:

  • Shield yourself — Suntan lotion is a lifesaver.  The FDA recommends broad spectrum sunscreens with a minimum of SPF 15.  Reapply at least every 2 hours (more frequently if you’re in the water), and check with a pediatrician before applying sunscreen to infants.
  • Cover up — Sometimes, the best solution is the oldest. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt of light fabric can help protect your skin while not making you overheated.  Broad brimmed hats offer great protection for your face, neck, and head- especially if you don’t have much hair!
  • Limit your exposure — Don’t push your luck.  Most of us know how long we take to bake, so head back under your umbrella or back inside to take regular breaks from the sun.
  • Time of day — The middle of the day is the worst for your risk of sunburn. Be especially cautious between 10 am and 2 pm- that’s when UV rays are the strongest.
  • Don’t forget your eyes —Exposure to UV rays can increase your risk of developing eye problems. Sunglasses that offer UV protection can help. Look for lenses that have a UV400 rating or say “100% UV Protection.” Don’t assume that dark lenses or expensive glasses equal UV protection- your eyecare professional may be able to check your glasses if you are unsure.

With these tips in mind, get out there and enjoy the warm days safely and confidently!