The Risky Business of Summer – UV Rays and Pollen!

How to stay safe against harmful UV rays and high pollen counts.

Outdoor activities with your family can be much more enjoyable when you are properly prepared. During the summer months while barbecuing, camping or sightseeing, there are a few essentials you can pack along to keep you and your loved ones safe. These extras are specifically intended to protect your family from the harmful effects of UV rays and pollen.

Weather forecasters around the globe are aware of the dangers of intense UV rays and high pollen counts. They become an even more relevant during the summer months when people are active and outdoors. But what exactly do the UV Index and Pollen Count figures really mean and how do they affect our health?

The UV Index

After many attempts by meteorologists around the world to define a “sunburn index,” Environment Canada scientists developed the modern UV index in 1992. Many other countries then developed their own UV indices, but in 1994 the World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization standardized the UV Index for the world.

Currently the UV Index is a scale from 0.0 to 11.0+ and within that range there are different levels of risk. UV exposure can cause harm beginning from as low as 3.0, and it is recommended that one should wear sunscreen and protective clothing to prevent harm.

According to the American Cancer Society, overexposure in the sun can lead to the development of two common types of skin cancer. They form on areas of the body left unprotected while outdoors including the arms, neck, head and legs. Simply by observing the UV Index and using sunscreen, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing skin cancer, plus a little extra sunscreen never hurt anyone.

The Pollen Count

The projected daily pollen level has three different ratings: low, medium or high. This is a forecast of how much tree, grass and weed pollen will be present in the air. The rating system comes from an averaging of data collected over a number of years and gives you a general forecast of an allergic reaction to the pollen particles floating in an area.

Currently, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that allergies are increasing among both adults and children and  according to the CDC, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an medical costs of over $18 billion a year.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year (per the CDC), but you can prevent suffering simply by knowing the pollen forecast. On days when the pollen forecast is high make sure to take some over-the-counter allergy medication before heading out, or keep some in your car or purse so you are always ready for when an allergy symptoms strike.


See all UV Index and Pollen forecast data with the WeatherBug app.



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