Do You Know The UV Levels In Your Region Today?
Posted on 12 September 2016
Why do we care about UV levels?
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the best natural source of vitamin D – and vitamin D is super duper important, especially for women, because it helps absorb calcium. It also is said to decrease you risk against a whole host of other diseases, including some cancers, and immune diseases.
However, too much UV exposure is major cause of sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer and premature ageing.
So we need to be aware of the UV levels to make sure we are enjoying the sunshine safely.
Which begs the question…
do you know the UV levels in your region today?
How can you determine UV levels?
Determining UV levels is not as easy as you think because there is no connection between UV levels and temperature. You can’t feel UV and you can’t see UV.
There are also an awful lot of things that impact the level of UV, including:
- The time... UV radiation is the highest between 10am and 2pm
- Location... UV radiation is higher closer to the equator
- Altitude... UV radiation is higher the higher you are - be careful when you're flying!
- Cloud cover.... caution: you still get burnt on cloudy days!
- Surface reflection... snow, sand and water intensifies the UV radiation.
So knowing the UV levels and knowing how to enjoy the sunshine is complicated.
But never fear, there are heaps of resources to help you figure out UV levels.
It's Just Like a Weather Forecast!
Lets first start with how UV is measured.
UV is measured using a UV index that predicts the expected risk of overexposure to UV rays – much like a weather forecast.
The higher the UV Index, the more UV radiation is present and the higher risk of skin damage.
The index is a scale from 1 (low risk) to 11 (extremely high risk).
So where should you go to look up the UV index in your region?
🇦🇺 If you’re in Australia, you can use the SunSmart UV Alert: This handy little alert predicts when sun protection is required for more than 200 locations across Australia. The alert is available for free in SunSmart app or on the SunSmart website.
I personally use my favourite weather app: Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Weather app. It has an easy to read design and uses live weather data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (and no, Shifty Jelly have not paid for this recommendation, but I reckon they should start paying me, I’ve told so many people about their handy little app!).
🇺🇸 If you’re in the US you can use the EPA's SunWise UV Index app. This free app provides a daily and hourly forecast of the expected intensity of UV radiation from the sun.
🌍 If outside of Australia and the US why not give the Ultraviolet ~ UV Index app a whirl? Ultraviolet is a simple UV Index viewer showing you the current UV index for your, or any other, location in the world. Free to download with a $1.99 charge for ad removal. (Disclaimer: I haven’t downloaded this app or used it, but if you have and have any feedback on it, please let us know!).
So, now that you know looking up the UV index level is just as easy as looking up the weather forecast are you going to do it? Do you know of any other great apps or resources you’d like to share with us to help us all measure our UV exposure?