Love to spend time outdoors in the spring and summer? There’s nothing quite like a stroll on a beautiful day, a hike through the woods or a bike ride in nature. Yet it’s important to protect yourself from the sun, which can be extremely hard on your eyes and skin. And just because it’s cloudy outside doesn’t mean that the sun’s rays can do no harm. Whatever your preferred outdoor activity, here are some important tips for enjoying the great outdoors — safely.

Wear sunglasses. You’ll want to find sunglasses that block the full spectrum of UV rays, including UVA, UVB, and UVC. (UVB rays are those that are thought to cause the most damage to your eyes, but you want to completely limit your risk.) If you need prescription lenses, you can get your sunglasses made to limit UV spectrum rays. Wear quality sunglasses whenever you’re outside if you can, and while driving. Studies show that car windows don’t offer complete protection against harmful sun exposure.

Use sunscreen. If you’re planning on being out in the sun for longer than 10-15 minutes, make sure to use a sunscreen with SPF 30. If you’re going to be out in the sun for a while, reapply sunscreen as needed. Try purchasing some clothing that provides a level of protection against UVA and UVB rays to wear when you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Know when the sun’s rays are the strongest. To protect your eyes and skin from damage from the sun’s rays, it is important to avoid or limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when rays are strongest. If you want to go out in the sun during that time period, wear sunglasses, a hat with a brim and sunscreen. Try to enjoy the outdoors in the early morning and late afternoon and evening as much as possible during the summer months.

Help your children develop good sun habits early. Know that sun damage is cumulative. Repeatedly spending time outside without proper eye protection and sunscreen can add up over the years and decades. Teach your children to protect their eyes and skin every time they are in the sun, and make a pledge to do so yourself.

Enjoy the Outdoors, Safely!

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