Utah Residents Are Exposed to More UV Radiation

The combination of elevation, genes, and lifestyle have made Utah residents more vulnerable to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the diseases and conditions associated with prolonged exposure. Utah has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., as well as mortality associated with these conditions. However, UV rays can be avoided with a few simple measures:

1. Keep UV Rays Out of Your House

Natural light looks beautiful in any residential setting, but it comes with a particular risk. Salt Lake City has an elevation of 4,000 feet, exposing it to 30 percent more UV radiation. UV filters in residential windows, glass doors, and skylights ensure that you get natural light without the harmful radiation. UV filters become more critical as elevation gets higher as every 1,000 feet of elevation increases UV exposure by around 7 percent. Special filters can block up to 99 percent of harmful radiation without affecting the clarity of your windows. You can rest assured that you and your family are safe from the sun’s rays as long as you’re inside your house. UV filters also preserve the quality of your furnishings, art pieces, and decorative fixtures. Beautiful antiques and wooden floors also benefit from UV protection, preventing the discoloration associated with sun exposure.

2. Wear Sunblock

Even people who regularly use sunblock opt not to apply it when driving. This can be a dangerous mistake as UV exposure when driving can be significant. In the U.S., most skin cancers develop on the left side of the body, while the reverse is true for the UK.

Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulder

This phenomenon is attributed to sun exposure when driving. Car windshields are normally treated with UV filters, but the rest of the car’s windows are not. You can either have all your car windows treated or apply sunscreen before you take a drive. Sunscreen can protect you from damaging UV rays, but experts suggest using ones with SPF of 15 and above.

3. Use an Umbrella or Wear a Hat

Sunscreen is effective, but protective clothing can give you better protection. Sunglasses can protect your eyes where sunscreen can’t, preventing sun damage that can lead to macular degeneration and glaucoma. Wide-brimmed hats may be a little out of style, but they provide excellent protection for your face. Chronic sun exposure can hasten the effect of aging, and the face is especially vulnerable to these effects. Wear a hat when you are spending extended periods outdoors and use sunblock for maximum protection. For short walks, consider bringing an umbrella. While this practice is unpopular in the U.S., using an umbrella on sunny days is common in parts of Asia and Europe. Umbrellas can block from 70-99 percent of UV radiation, with darker umbrellas being more effective.

The sun might seem harmless, but it is one of the leading causes of cancer. Every day that you spend unprotected under the sun raises your chances of developing skin cancer. Protect yourself with simple measures to make sure that you can still have some fun under the sun.

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