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The human body benefits from sun exposure. And a little bit of tan protects you from the sun. Right? Wrong!
The body does indeed benefit from sun exposure. But a little bit of tan does not necessarily protect you from the sun. The sun’s rays are a major source of vitamin D and help the body’s systems acquire much needed calcium for building healthy bones. However, most people don’t need to spend large amounts of time exposed to the sun in order to get their required amount of vitamin D. In fact, the body’s health can actually suffer negative effects when it’s exposed too long to the sun’s rays, especially if it’s unprotected. Results can vary from skin and eye damage to immune system suppression and ultimately cancer, even for the young.
There are three kinds of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sun that reaches earth: UVA, UVB, and UVC. When these rays come in contact with our skin, affects of UVA and UVB can be - tans, burns and other reactions (e.g. like acne and cancer).
It’s also notable that the effects of all UV rays are not the same. Depending upon the season, time of day and place on the planet in relation to the sun - (i.e. your altitude and latitude), the rays’ intensities vary. For example, during summertime, UV rays are at their strongest. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the rays are strongest. And close to the equator and at high altitudes (where air and cloud cover are less, resulting in increased harmful penetration of UV rays into the environment), the rays are also strongest.
Get Shaded for Sun Safety!
In South East Asia, it's the tropical climate the whole year round. It's sunshinny everyday! Working, playing or relaxing outside on a glorious sunny day makes most people happy. We love the warm feeling of the sunshine on our skin. But be careful! Have you ever thought of the harzadous effects of the sun? Too much sun can be harmful. So before you grab the kids and head for the beach, the park or even the back-yard, take a few minutes to learn about sun safety. You can protect your family and still have fun under the sun.
Why be Careful?
Energy from the sun sustains all life on earth. However, some forms of sun energy can be harmful to life. This includes the sun’s burning or ultraviolet (UV) rays - the rays that can cause sunburn and skin cancer. The earth’s ozone layer - a thin veil of gas high in the earth’s atmosphere - acts as our planet’s sunscreen. In the past few years, the ozone layer has become slightly thinner than it used to be. This means slightly more of the sun’s UV rays can now reach the earth’s surface. Ultraviolet is a natural part of the sun’s rays - it has always been with us. We should have always been careful about spending too much time in the sun, even before any loss in the earth’s ozone layer.
Sunburns are not the only consequence of too much sun. Over time, too many UV rays and repeated sunburns can cause: skin cancer; premature aging of the skin; weakening of the immune system, which reduces the body’s ability to fight diseases such as cancer; eye cataracts that could lead to blindness. The sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common of all human cancers.
Skin cancer can be disfiguring or fatal if left untreated. Medical specialists are particularly concerned about malignant melanoma.. The sun is most dangerous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Skin cancer is uncommon in children. But damage that later results in skin cancer can be accumulated in childhood.
Children are Vulnerable
Children spend more time in the sun than most adults, specially in the summer. The skin can suffer a lot of damage in childhood. In fact, one of the conditions that puts people most at risk for skin cancer is two or more blistering sunburns as a child or adolescent. Other risk factors are: fair skin that tans poorly; red or blonde hair; light-coloured eyes - blue, gray or green; the use of tanning booths; sun lamps; reflectors and silver blankets; and any other exposure to UV.