Damaging Effects of The Sun


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Sun Protection

Matthew Winchester, Staff Writer

Everyone who goes outside is exposed to the sun. It’s important to know the effects of the sun so you can take the proper precautions.

The American Academy of Family Physicians advises talking to children, teens, and young adults about the effects of the sun. They should be taught to reduce the harmful effects. 

The most common negative effect of the sun is sunburn due to ultraviolet light, which is produced by tanning beds and the sun. Symptoms of sunburn include redness, pain, swelling, blisters and flu-like symptoms. The maximum symptoms of sunburn could take up to five hours to appear.

“Going to the beach is my favorite thing to do. Unfortunately, almost every time I go for a long period of time, I get sunburnt. Sometimes it can be extremely painful. I usually just put on some lotion to reduce the effects of it,” said Taylor Gorman, a junior.

Another harmful effect of the sun is skin cancer. This is considered the worst effect of the sun.  Skin cancer occurs when too many UV rays go through your skin. There are three different types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. 

Ann Twigg, one of our English teachers, shares, “I grew up in the country and have been an outdoors person for most of my life.  My sisters and I played outside from morning until dark.  When I was in college, I spent my summers working in North Myrtle Beach, and we were always on the beach during the day.  Sadly, it wasn’t until I had children that I became religious about wearing sunscreen.  I’ve had several removals of basal cell spots, and my doctor told me it was most probable that they were the result of my younger years when I didn’t consistently wear sunscreen.  I still love going to the beach and walking whenever I can, but I never leave home without 50 SPF.”

Heat strokes are also a bad effect of the sun. These can be life threatening. According to the CDC, heat stroke causes the body’s temperature to rise quickly. In some cases, a person’s body can reach temperatures as high as 106 degree Fahrenheit. Heat strokes require immediate medical attention. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, dry skin and seizures.

Eye damage is also another possible bad effect of the sun. Eye damage from the sun is caused by long-term, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. The damage is done to the retina of the eye. The retina is the back of the eye where the rods and cones create visual images.

Many people think that tanning beds are safer than the sun and will prevent negative effects. However, this is untrue. Tanning beds are actually more dangerous than the sun. Tanning beds release UVA light that is much more intense than the UVA light that is released from the sun.

It is very important to take the necessary precautions when going outside and entering tanning beds. It is recommended that people wear eye protection, apply sunscreen to their body and limit the time that they’re exposed to the sun.