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Early spring sun as strong as mid-August, stay protected

Thursday, March 25th 2021, 12:00 am - Spring is a season of variable weather and it's likely not a time you're concerned about sunburns. Here's why you should be.

As the warmer weather hits and the sun starts to shine, it's only natural to want to head outdoors even if the temperatures aren't soaring exceptionally high. What many people forget, however, are the dangers of the sun at this time of year as the angle of the sun is equivalent to a sun angle you typically expect in late summer.

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"You have to keep in mind that the UV Index rapidly rises at this time of year," says Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton. "As we get towards April, the sun's rays are in fact as strong as the third week of August at times."

Hamilton adds that any residual snowpack, especially in early spring, can nearly double the amount of ultraviolet rays.

"Once we hit the summer solstice, that sun angle then pivots downwards and the risk of sunburn and sun exposure start to diminish, but we're really on the rise at this point," Hamilton warns.

Here are a few tips:

  • Health experts say finding the right sunscreen is important. SPF 15 blocks 93 per cent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97 per cent and SPF 50 blocks 98 per cent.
  • Remember to look for a sunscreen that offers "broad-spectrum protection." This will protect against UVA rays, which can cause cancer and wrinkles.
  • Wear a hat, protective clothing and avoid direct sun exposure during peak times.
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