How to protect yourself from UV rays in this heat

As the hot weather continues in P.E.I., people need protection from not only the heat, but harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Environment Canada forecasts UV index at 7, or high, for Thursday

'If we can protect ourselves, why shouldn't we?' says meteorologist Linda Libby. (John Robertson/CBC)

As the hot weather continues in P.E.I., people need protection from not only the heat, but harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

That's the word from Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Linda Libby.

Wednesday's UV index for P.E.I. was 8, or very high, while Thursday's will be 7, or high.

"As much as we're preparing for heat, we need to prepare for UV," Libby said.

'If we can protect ourselves, why shouldn't we?'

On the UV index scale, 6 or 7 is high, 8 to 10 is very high and 11-plus is extreme. In cooler seasons, the level is more likely to be moderate (3 to 5) or low (0 to 2).

Most days this summer in P.E.I. have fallen into the high category, Libby said.

"Some of these are short-term risks and others are longer-term ones. Sometimes the longer-term ones, we tend to forget about them, but they're still there and there's still a risk. If we can protect ourselves, why shouldn't we?"

'You need to take precautions'

The higher the UV index, the shorter the period of time needed to do damage, Libby said.

"If it gets higher and higher on the UV index, that exposure period shortens up and you need to take precautions."

The UV index was at 8 on Wednesday and will be 7 on Thursday. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

People should cover up with clothing, a hat and sunglasses, she said.

"If you're not going to cover up, you need to put the sunscreen on and you need to do that ahead of time, before you go outside. If you're going to be out there for about 30 minutes or more, you need to take those precautions."

'Probably five degrees cooler in the shade'

Sunscreen should be re-applied during the day because people can sweat through it, Libby said.

"If you're going to be working outside, you're going to have the water, but you also need to have the hat and you need to have the shirt to cover up if you're starting to be exposed too long."

She also suggests finding shade if possible during midday, from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

"It's probably five degrees cooler in the shade, as opposed to being in the direct sun."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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