WHEELING, W VA. (WTRF) – With Summertime weather approaching as we truck through May, it is important to understand what the Ultraviolet (UV) Index is and why it is important.

To start, the ozone layer (roughly 10-25 miles above the surface) protects the Earth from harmful UV radiation, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

The index itself predicts the UV radiation levels on a 0-10+ scale, which will inform the user how powerful the Sun’s radiation is for the day and determine how to appropriately protect yourself from the Sun.

Here is the UV forecast from Monday.

Overexposure of the sun can cause immediate impacts like sunburn. Prolonged negligence of understanding the UV Index and persistent sunburn cases can cause skin cancer and/or cataracts down the road.

What does “SPF” mean on sunscreen?

Sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of how much UV radiation is necessary to sunburn the skin, relative to the amount of radiation required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. (According to the FDA)

As SPF increases, sunburn protection increases.

A common misconception of SPF numbers relate to time of solar exposure.

SPF does not correlate to time of solar exposure but to amount of solar exposure.

Also, it takes less time to be exposed to the same amount of solar energy at midday compared to early morning or late evening.

(All the information above is from the EPA)

For a daily look at the UV Index, click here!

Precautions (according to the US EPA)

  • Limit time in Sun between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Seek shade.
  • Use at least SPF 30+ sunscreen.
  • Wear full length clothing and a hat.
  • Lookup UV Index daily.

Stay weather aware and prepared as we head through the Summer months!