I wrote this post about the UV Index scale a few summers ago, and now that summer is in full-force I feel like nothing has changed – I’m still paranoid about leaving the house in the day time! While half the world is out tanning and enjoying the hot weather, I’m more vampire-ish than ever. I have one friend now that is even more paranoid than me, and she claims her sun-avoidance is making her age backwards! How about you – are you enjoying the sun this summer? Or do you freak out when the weather forecaster announces it’s another 11+ UV Index day?
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned about the UV Index (a measurement of how hot and intense the sun gets on a given day). At the time, I thought the index went from 1-10, with 10 being the absolute hottest rating possible. Imagine my horror when I realized the UV Index is generally 11+ almost every day of the Las Vegas summer! Holy crap – The UV Index actually goes to 15! The heat must have fried my brain because I’m a total sun-phobe, yet I cemented my plans on staying in Las Vegas by recently buying a condo (update: wow, that was a bad idea!)
While Vegas is a bit extreme since it’s a UV Index of 9 or higher half the year, most cities in the US see extreme UV ratings during the summer. You can check your city’s UV Index by entering in your zip code on the EPA website. The site also gives you a map of the UV Index of the entire US. Here is how I go to extremes to deal with the crazy high UV Index:
- I try to avoid leaving the house before 6pm! Currently I’m self-employed, so unless I have a freelance photography job during the day, I generally don’t leave the house til 5 or 6pm. The sun is still out, so I still get to see daylight, yet avoid the hottest time of the day. I’m not a morning person, or otherwise I might get up super early, and then avoid being outside from 9am-5pm. When I get a job outside of the house, a night job would probably be ideal for me.
- I keep most of the shades in the house drawn, and have curtains up on the windows. The hot sun can still come through the windows and while it can’t burn you, UVA rays can cause premature aging, and possibly skin cancer. When I move to my own condo, I’m going to look into having my windows UV tinted. I have no idea how much this costs!
- I tinted my car windows with a UV coating to deflect the sun. Just because you’re in your car doesn’t mean the sun can’t harm you, so car window tinting adds an extra layer of protection.
- If I have to go outside, I spend as little time outside as possible. I always wear SPF 30+ Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen, even at 6pm! If the sun is out, I have on sunscreen!
- I always wear big sunglasses with UVA/UVB coating, and my next purchase will be big wraparound sunglasses, so that my crow’s feet get extra protection! I really don’t like hats, or else I’d wear a hat whenever I left the house as well.
- I carry around sunscreen with me, so that I can reapply in case I have to be in and out of the sun all day (which of course I try to avoid at all costs).
Suddenly that song “Sunglasses At Night” almost makes sense to me! Basically my answer to the heat is to stay inside like a hermit. The problem is when friends don’t share my extreme views, and they think it’s great fun to go outside when it’s 115 degrees! So I find myself making a lot of excuses, since most people have a hard time accepting that a UV Index of 11 = DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!