UV rays are damaging even on cloudy days

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - In Texas, about 12 people out of 100,000 get melanoma in a year. Doctors said about two of those 12 cases will likely be deadly.

On a cloudy day, Dr. Phuc Vo, the Medical Director at Neighbors Emergency Room said harmful UV rays from the sun still make it to the earth's surface.

"Even though you're not feeling the heat per say you're still getting the harmful effects of the rays," Vo said.

Doctors now say UVA and UVB sun rays are damaging.

"These rays are harmful to your skin and they can cause DNA damage that will pre dispose you to risks for cancer," Vo said.

Even on a cloudy day the aquatics director at Castaway Cove Waterpark, Zachary Vaughn, said the life guards at use multiple ways to protect their skin from the sun.

"First things first you always got to where sunscreen," Vaughn said, "also full brimmed hats. Our lifeguards always have their shirts on.

On a cloudy day, the UV index in Wichita Falls can be at 10. The scale goes from 1-11. So it is very high.

If you walk outside and it is completely cloudy. The clouds can block UV rays, but once they start breaking they can deflect rays increasing the amount of UV reaching the surface.

"People believe actually that you can't get a sunburn when it's cloudy outside," Vaughn said. "When studies are actually showing that when it's cloudy outside you can get even more of a sunburn then you would when it's not cloudy outside."

At a UV index of 10, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Weather Service suggest if you are outside between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. you should wear a shirt, hat, find shade, and of course wear sunscreen.

"What you want to look for is where it's broad spectrum," Vo said. "What broad spectrum means is it protects you against UVA and UVB rays."

Dr. Vo said reapplying sunscreen is the best way to prevent a blistering burn.

"Everyone has, they get that one sunburn and they decide I need to start wearing sunscreen after that," Vaughn said.

"Apply every time you hit the water and get out of the water and also every 2 hours if you're not in water," Vo said.

Dr. Vo also reminds parents that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you do not put sunscreen on kids less than six months old.

Alternatives include long sleeves, hats, and shade.

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