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The UV Index and sun-protection messages

How to take precautions when the UV Index is high

The UV Index represents the amount of skin-damaging UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface at any point in time. The basic UV Index forecast is given for solar noon — the sun’s highest point in the sky and the time of the highest fluctuation in UV radiation (under clear sky conditions). The larger the number, the more intense the UV radiation. When the UV Index is high, spending time in the sunlight is more damaging than when it’s low.

You can find the daily UV Index for your city in most weather forecasts. 

The UV Index in most countries will vary between 1 and 11, but in very extreme situations it can be as high as 40+. The world record UV Index of 43.3 was detected at Bolivia's Licancabur volcano. If the UV Index is above 8 it’s considered very high and serious precaution is necessary.

The Global Solar UV Index

Sun-protection messages

Please find some advice below on how to protect yourself in accordance to the UV Index. 

Sunscreen and SPF

Using sunscreen is one way to protect yourself while enjoying outdoor activities in the sun. The level of protection is measured by the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The higher the factor you use, the better you are protected against UV radiation. WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15+ liberally and re-applying every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors. 

Clothing and Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

The UV protection factor states how long someone wearing UV protective clothing can stay out in the sun without suffering skin damage. The UPF is comparable to the sun protection factor of sunscreen and forms the basis for calculations of what is known as the intrinsic protection time of the skin.

Eye protection

UV radiation can also damage your eyes. Be sure to always wear sunglasses on bright days – even in winter.  When you purchase sunglasses, look for UV-protection details on product labels. Be sure to choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB rays. Children should wear sunglasses as well!

If you want to learn more about how to protect yourself in the sun you can read the article “Protect yourself in the sun”.