What is the UV Index and why is it important?

What does the UV Index mean anyway, and why is it so important to people in general? Most people know about sun protection through SPF sunscreens and UPF clothing products that are UV rated, and they realize that they should use both, but do they actually understand the medical concerns that go along with exposure to the sun? It is important for anyone to familiarize themselves with the UV Index and the right kind of products in order to gain protection from exposure to the harmful rays of the sun.

Ultraviolet(UV)

Ultraviolet (UV) is invisible solar radiation. It is a band of light with a certain frequency that goes beyond the violet end of the spectrum, which can be harmful to the skin and other areas of the body.

In easier to understand terms, UV radiation is a kind of energy that is produced by the sun and artificial means. It’s not like the heat or light from the sun, which can be seen and felt. It is not possible to sense or detect UV radiation or its detrimental effects until after they occur. There are three types of UV rays, which cause the following:

•UVA rays (premature aging and wrinkling)
•UVB rays (cause sunburn and cataracts)
•UVC rays (strongest rays that are blocked by the ozone layer)

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is harmful as it is the chief cause of skin cancer, plus it leads to premature aging, tanning damage, eye problems, sunburn, photo sensitivity and other skin related problems and health issues. The one advantage to sun exposure (in a limited manner) is that it does provide a source of Vitamin D.

UV Index

The UV Index linear scale that is used in America follows international guidelines for UVI reporting, which was established by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is important to know the scale and understand what it means in relation to avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

The scale is indexed in levels from 1 to 11+, and the level indicator is affected by different factors in various regions of the country, particularly where the sun is the most intense. Determination of the scale movement is indicated by:

•Time of day
•Cloud cover
•Altitude
•Reflection/scattering
•Approximation to the equator

The various scale levels include:

Low Reading 0-2 (Green)

•Signals low danger from sun’s UV rays
•Utilize sunglasses on sunny days
•Use broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
•Anticipate brightness/reflection of UV in different surfaces (sand, snow, water)

Moderate Reading 3-5 (Yellow)

•Signals moderate risk from sun’s UV rays
•Remain in the shade during the middle of the day
•Wear appropriate sun protective clothing
• large hat, UV blocking sunglasses
•Use broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
•Reapply every two hours, even on an overcast day or after swimming and sweating
•Anticipate brightness/reflection of UV in different surfaces (sand, snow, water)

High Reading 6-7 (Orange)

•Signals high risk from sun’s UV rays (particularly for skin and eyes)
•Decrease time in the sun between 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon
•Wear protective clothing

•sunhat,face mask, UV blocking sunglasses
•Use (generously) broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
•Reapply every two hours, even on an overcast day or after swimming and sweating
•Anticipate brightness/reflection of UV in different surfaces (sand, snow, water)Very High Reading 8-10 (Red)

•Signals very high risk from sun’s UV rays (particularly for skin and eyes)
•Decrease time in the sun between 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon
•Wear protective clothing
•sunhat,face mask, UV blocking sunglasses
•Use (generously) broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
•Reapply every two hours, even on an overcast day or after swimming and sweating
•Anticipate brightness/reflection of UV in different surfaces (sand, snow, water)

Extreme Reading 11+ (Violet)

• Signals very high risk from sun’s UV rays (particularly concerning skin and eyes)
• Decrease time in the sun between 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon and seek shade
• Wear protective clothing
• sunhat, face mask, UV blocking sunglasses
• Use (generously) broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
• Reapply every two hours, even on an overcast day or after swimming and sweating
• Anticipate brightness/reflection of UV in different surfaces (sand, snow, water)

UPF Protection

Protective clothing is one of best ways to deter skin damage from ultraviolet rays of the sun. A UPF factor determines just how effective a clothing item can be in protecting individuals from the ravages of the sun’s rays, and a Hoo-rag bandana just may be the answer to an easy and fast way to sun protection.

A Hoo-rag is an innovative bandana type headgear piece that can be worn in a number of different ways. Its fabric content is 100% polyester microfiber that is made to pull moisture away from the head and other areas, such as the neck and face. It provides quick evaporation, plus it is rated at 30 UPF, and it can be maneuvered and shaped in countless ways to provide protection and relief from heat. This all-around bandana is one multifaceted piece of fabric.

UPF = Ultraviolet Protection Factor

The UPF factor stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor,” and is a standard rating system that measures the effectiveness of the blocking of the sun’s rays in clothing and other types of specifically made UPF or UV gear. The items are designed to screen out both UVA and UVB rays.

The UPF categories under the American rating system include:

• Good UPF = 15-24
• Very Good UPF = 25-39
• Excellent UPF = 40-50+

Sun protection is important, and the UV Index is one of the best indicators as to what the intensity and effect of the sun’s rays are going to be on any given day. It enables individuals that are planning on spending time outdoors to be prepared with adequate UPF protection through the right UV rated clothing items they choose to wear, and with what a Hoo-rag offers, there is no limit to your fun in the sun.

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