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UV Index 

The UV Index provides a daily forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to the sun. The Index predicts UV intensity levels on a scale of 0 to 10+, where 0 indicates a minimal risk of overexposure and 10+ means a very high risk

UV Index Number Exposure Level
2 or less Low
3 to 5 Moderate
6 to 8 High
8 to 10 Very High
11+ Extreme


UV Index Values

Exposure Categories

0 - 2 Minimal - Wearing a hat is sufficient protection.
3 - 4 Low - Wearing a hat and a sunscreen with SPF 15 is recommended.
5 - 6 Moderate - Wearing a hat, a sunscreen with SPF 15 and staying in the shade is recommended.
7 - 9  High - In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
10 + Very High - In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors if possible.
UV Index Category Sunburn Time
over 9 extreme less than 15 minutes
7-9 high about 20 minutes
4-7 medium about 30 minutes
0-4 low more than 1 hour

When the UV index is over 9, UV-B is extremely strong, and you will burn in less than 15 minutes. 



5 steps to be SunSmart


  1. Seek shade.
  2. Wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs as well as your body.
  3. Put on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face and neck.
  4. Wear wrap-around sunglasses.
  5. Apply broad spectrum SPF 30+ water resistant sunscreen every 2 hours. Sunscreen should not be used to extend the time you spend in the sun

Credit: Commonwealth of Australia 2006, Bureau of Meteorology

Sun Safety Action Steps

Limit Time in the Midday Sun Do Not Burn
Five or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing skin cancer.

Seek Shade

Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds
UV light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
Wear a Hat Generously Apply Sunscreen
Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
Cover Up Wear Protective Clothing
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation Seek Shade
Seek shade when appropriate remembering that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember the shadow rule when in the sun: Watch Your Shadow. No Shadow, Seek Shade!
Always Use Sunscreen Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand
Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors Watch for the UV Index
The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.
Watch for the UV Index Get Vitamin D Safely
Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun.


Early detection of melanoma can save your life. Carefully examine ALL of your skin once a month. A new or changing mole in an adult should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

Credit: EPA Sunwise Program


Energy from the sun reaches the earth as visible, infrared, and ultraviolet rays

  • ultraviolet A (UVA) is made up of wavelengths 320 to 400 nanometers (nm) in length

  • ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths are 280 to 320 nm

  • ultraviolet C (UVC) wavelengths are 100 to 280 nm

Only UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays reach the earth's surface. The earth's atmosphere absorbs UVC wavelengths.

  • UVB rays cause a much greater risk of skin cancer than UVA.
  • However, UVA rays cause aging, wrinkling, and loss of elasticity.
  • UVA also increases the damaging effects of UVB, including skin cancer and cataracts.