The Sun Does Feel Good...

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- As with all things in life, the good must be taken with the bad, and the sun is no exception to this rule. The sun allows life to flourish on our blue planet. However, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation it emits can be harmful to skin and eyes.

From 1970 to 2009, the rate of skin cancer, specifically melanoma - the most deadly type in the U.S., has increased in women by 800 percent and in men by 400 percent. This is a troubling thought considering that most people spend much of their day indoors. Despite this knowledge, some may say, "I don't care. A little sun never hurt anybody."

Generally, children spend more time outdoors than adults. The more a child is exposed to UV rays, the more likely they are to get some type of skin cancer later on in life. This is why parents should start protecting their children from UV rays at a very young age.

Most people are aware of the potential damage that UV rays can cause to the skin, but many do not know the danger it poses to the eyes. When eyes are exposed to a large amount of UV radiation for a short period of time, photo keratitis takes place. The laymen' s term for this word would be sunburn of the eye. Symptoms may include excessive tearing, red eyes, gritty eyes and even temporary loss of vision. Normally these conditions are short-term. Yet when the eyes are exposed to long-term UV radiation, the conditions may be more severe, including permanent damage to the retina and potential loss of vision later in life.

While being exposed to UV radiation for any amount of time could be considered dangerous, it would be unreasonable to always stay indoors. It is healthy to walk outside, play sports or throw a ball for a dog, as long as precautionary measures are taken.

· Sunscreen (Try for at least SPF 15-- it blocks approximately 93% of UV rays)
· Wear a hat
· Wear sunglasses (Preferably UV absorbent)

Be extra careful from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. because this is when the sun's UV rays are at their strongest