Summer is over, but the sun still shines brightly. Although most people tie UV index to the summer months, it is relevant in any season that has sunny days. Unfortunately, older adults have the most heat-related medical emergencies during the summer. Because of this, it is essential for caregivers to know when the UV index is too strong for seniors to spend time outside exposed to direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sun and heat can lead to conditions such as sun poisoning and skin cancer.
What Is the UV Index?
The term UV index is known to almost anyone, but few people understand its meaning. Below we have listed what older adults and their caregivers should understand about the UV index and its effects on people during sunny days.
The ultraviolet index, or UV index for short, is used internationally. It is a measurement of how much UV radiation is getting through in a particular location at a given time. The higher the index, the more potential risk of a sunburn.
The Environment Protection Agency has the UV index numbers divided into five categories.
When the UV index rating is listed between 0 and 2, it means that an individual is not in danger of UV-related issues. Seniors are considered to be an age group which has the most significant problems with UV, but when an index is 0–2, they are not at risk. Of course, it is still desirable to have applied sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and wear protective gear such as sunglasses. Snow, water, or sand can increase the risk of UV-related medical incidents even when the UV index is low.
The risk grows when the index enters the 3–5 region. During the times when the UV index is here, you should avoid direct sunlight during midday. Even if you are only driving in your car, you should apply sunscreen. Also, lightweight clothes and hats are recommended.
If the UV index is reading 6–7, it means that the risk of UV-related medical issues is high, and you can suffer from skin and eye damage if you venture out in the sun unprotected. During the days when the UV index is this high, both caregivers and their patients should stay indoors. But if you decide to go out anyway, you must apply sunscreen and wear a hat, sunglasses, and clothes that are loose-fitting.
If the UV Index reaches 8 to 10, older adults are at a high risk of having a medical emergency. The best thing to do is STAY INDOORS. Going out should be confined to the early morning or late in the evening. Seniors should be protected at all times of day by wearing hats, sunglasses, and bright summer clothing that protects the skin. We shouldn’t even need to mention sunscreen—it is a must. Remember, your arms and legs are at a higher risk than the rest of your body.
A day that has a UV index of 11 or higher means that an extreme weather warning has been issued. Both skin and eyes, if unprotected, can suffer severe damage. During a high index like this, seniors should stay indoors.
Apps to Help Caregivers Track the UV Index Each Day
Having an app that monitors the UV index is an essential thing for any caregiver to have these days. Luckily, technological advancements made this possible for caregivers and their patients. Below we have listed only a few applications that you can use to make life safer for your loved one:
- SunWise – This app is provided by the EPA, and it’s free. When you give it your location, it will show you the UV index for each hour.
- Ultraviolet from Robocat – This app is also free. By using this one, you can see the UV Index in any part of the world.
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