UV Protection for Older Adults

elderly couple holding hands and walking outside

How Seniors Can Stay Safe in the Sun

Recognizing UV Awareness Month

July is UV Awareness Month, and it is a good reminder for all of us to practice “safe sun” enjoyment all year long. UV exposure is the root cause of most skin cancers, but it does not only affect our skin—it also affects our eyes. While we need the sun’s rays to stimulate our body’s vitamin D absorption and strengthen our immune system, we also need to take precautions to protect our skin and eyes. No matter your age, staying safe in the sun is so important!


So, how can you stay safe in the sun? When it comes to seniors and sun, we have some tips:


Wear sunglasses with UV blocking protection.

Not all sunglasses block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. Make sure yours do! Encourage your family—including younger family members and grandchildren—to wear their shades as well.


Be aware of the sun’s reflection.

The sun’s rays can reflect off of sand, snow, cement, and water at any time of year. Take appropriate precautions with sunscreen and sunglasses, and seek shade when possible.


Stay out of the sun during peak hours.

This is usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities or exercise early in the morning or later at night, particularly on hot summer days.


Wear clothing that blocks UV rays.

While some retailers sell clothing with UV protection capabilities, you do not have to spend money on specialty apparel—fabrics like cotton and denim are good choices as well.


Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is water resistant and has an SPF of 30 or higher. Make it a habit to wear sunscreen whenever you plan to be outdoors, especially on a hot sunny day. If you have concerns about potential skin cancer symptoms, we encourage you to check out the resources available through the American Cancer Society and reach out to your primary care doctor.


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