UV Index by the Numbers?

Understanding the UV index will help you protect your skin from the sun

Credit: Flickr/mandj98

Sometimes taking cover is the best form of sun protection

During the warmer months of the year, spending time outdoors is ideal. Just don’t forget to protect your skin from UV rays

Today, weather forecasts routinely include the day’s UV index – the intensity of skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation you can expect as rated according to Environment Canada’s UV Index. This information is vital for determining how much sun protection you need to stay safe when working or playing outdoors and is particularly important in summer when UV radiation levels are at their highest. So here’s what those numbers mean:

0-2: Low

  • Normal outdoor activities require minimal 
sun protection.

  • Cover up and use sunscreen if out for more than one hour.

3-5: Moderate

  • Wear sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen if out for more than 30 minutes.

  • Seek shade at midday.

6-7: High

  • High risk of sunburn, so wear full protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen).

  • Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

8-10: Very High

Very high risk of sunburn, so take extra precautions (sunglasses, hat and sunscreen,
and seek shade).

  • Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

11+: Extreme

  • Uncommon in Canada, but a risk for Canadians visiting tropical and sub-tropical areas.

  • Skin can burn in minutes.

  • Use full precautions to protect the eyes and skin and stay in the shade.

  • Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.