Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | 10:47 a.m.
Nevada has some of the highest ultraviolet radiation levels in the nation but with careful steps, Las Vegans can avoid the worst impacts of exposure to the sun, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The agency today released new tips and tools to educate Americans about UV rays and to help them manage their sun exposure. That includes a smartphone application that provides mobile access to the daily UV index forecast across the country.
This will allow users to check the sun’s intensity and plan outdoor activities accordingly.
The app provides users with a numeric index ranging from 0 to 11+ (higher numbers indicate greater amounts of skin-damaging UV radiation), and tips to protect the skin and eyes.
The forecast for Las Vegas today, for example, is 8 or “very high” on the scale. That means people should wear sunscreen, hats and other protective clothing and avoid going out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are strongest.
Overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and eye damage. It can happen to anyone, regardless of skin pigment, and during any time of the year.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the EPA. Overexposure to UV radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and skin’s natural defenses.
Sun safety tips from the EPA:
· Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds.
· Avoid burns — overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
· Seek shade, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when UV radiation is most intense.
· Wear wide-brimmed hats, protective clothing, and sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UV radiation.
· Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and UVA and UVB blocking properties on all exposed skin.
· Check the UV Index.
Download the UV Index smartphone app here.
Find more information on the SunWise program here.