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What the UV index means to you

As we head towards the warmer months in mid-Missouri, you probably expect to spend more time outside in the sun. During this time it is important to keep an eye on the UV index scale. The UV scale is meant to help protect you from harmful exposure to solar radiation. The scale ranges from 0-11+. An index of 1 is the lowest, while anything higher than 11 is extreme.

On days when the UV index is ranked from 0 to 2 there is low danger from the sun’s rays. Very few precautions are needed to protect yourself during these days. There is a moderate risk from damaging sun rays when the UV index lies from 3 to 5. To protect yourself during these days, make sure you stay in shade during the peak hours of the day, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and apply sunscreen if planning to be outside.

There is a high risk of harm during a UV index reading of 6 to 7. When in a high risk, limit your time in direct sunlight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is when solar radiation is the most dangerous. To protect your skin apply SPF 30+ and reapply every two hours. It’s important to protect your eyes as well by wearing sunglasses when outside.

Extra precautions need to be taken when the UV index ranges from 8 to 10. There is a very high risk of skin and eye damage during this time. Avoid spending time outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you do spend time outdoors, continue to protect your skin and eyes by applying sunscreen, as well as wearing protective clothing and eyewear.

If the UV index is 11 or higher you should take every precaution possible since skin and eyes can burn within minutes from exposure. Avoid the sunlight during the peak hours. If spending time outside, staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing and sunglasses, and applying sunscreen will lessen your chances of sun damage.

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