Temperatures in many areas of the state won’t be dwindling down anytime soon, so practicing good sun safety is important. Wearing sunscreen every day is the one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can damage your skin. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or sooner if sweating or engaging in water activities.

It is also important to limit time spent in the midday sun. Limit your outdoor activities when the UV rays are strongest and most damaging (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Remember: Look for your shadow—if no shadow, seek cover.

Another way to protect yourself from the sun is through checking the daily UV index. The ultraviolet or UV index is a way of measuring the sun’s intensity. The scale is from 1 to 11+. The higher the UV, the more careful you should be. A day with a UV rating of 11 requires more protection than a day with a rating of one.

Practicing good sun safety is important at any age, but it is critically important for children since about a quarter of a person’s lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before age 18. The SunWise Skin Cancer Prevention School Program provides free curriculum, school assemblies, staff training, and resources to reduce skin cancer. The curriculum is distributed on a CD-ROM and features educational activities that incorporate math, science, health, social studies, language arts, and critical thinking.

Taking simple steps to reduce overexposure to UV rays is possible while still enjoying the outdoors, so be sure to practice these sun safety tips this summer, and all year long