Did you know that July is UV Safety Awareness Month? It’s the perfect time for Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Cassandra Stache, DPM of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center, to share important information about UV radiation and how to prevent the damage it causes.
The two types of UV rays radiated by the sun are UVA and UVB. Because they have longer wavelengths, UVA rays can infiltrate the middle layer of your skin. UVB rays, which have shorter wavelengths, can affect the outer layer of your skin. Despite their differences, overexposure to either kind can be unsafe.
When discussing sun damage, most people think about skin cancer, a significant threat. Ultraviolet rays can harm your body in other ways, including vision problems and eye damage, suppression of the immune system, and premature skin aging.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to protect your feet (and the rest of your body) from harmful UV rays:
1. Find shade. This applies whether you’re dining al fresco or at the beach. Seek shade during the sun’s hottest hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Remember that the danger of fatal melanomas increases by small, cumulative amounts and intensive sun exposures.
2. Apply more sunscreen. If you’re like many people, you’re using only 25-50% of the amount of sunscreen required to provide adequate protection from UV rays. It takes at least one ounce (a palmful) applied every two hours to prevent harmful UV rays from causing damage. Use it more often if you are sweating heavily or swimming. Choose sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” because they fight both UVA and UVB rays.
3. Educate yourself regarding the signs of skin cancer. Take note of any new moles or lesions, or changes to existing ones. Consider size, color, texture, shape, or uncommon symptoms like bleeding. Contact your podiatrist to schedule your appointment for a thorough examination.
4. Be aware of sneaky UV damage. Ultraviolet rays can infiltrate clouds, so even if the sun isn’t out, it doesn’t mean they can’t harm you. UV rays can also pass through the glass in homes and cars, so remain mindful of those exposures.
Keeping your feet happy and healthy is our top priority! If you are experiencing any issues with your feet, contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. You can click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you to book your appointment.