July is U-V safety month and health care providers are urging Iowans to protect themselves from the sun’s dangerous ultra-violet rays. Tens of thousands of Iowans go outside every day without sunglasses or sunscreen and research nurse Sharon Brigner says they could be putting themselves at risk for eye damage and various forms of skin cancer.

Brigner says “Wearing sunglasses that block 100-percent of the sun’s harmful U-V-A and U-V-B rays and applying a sunscreen with an S-P-F factor of 15 or higher are two very effective ways to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.”

Brigner says you should also avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Brigner says “Just like excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays can burn your skin, it can also burn the surface of the eye. It’s wise to see your health care provider if you notice any changes on your skin or with your vision.”

About two-thirds of melanomas are attributed to U-V exposure. The C-D-C says the death rate from melanoma in the U.S. has increased by about four-percent a year since 1973 and will cause 79-percent of skin cancer deaths this year.