Stop the sunburn: What you need to know about the UV Index

News 6's Samara Cokinos explains importance of measure


ORLANDO, Fla. – You may have heard meteorologists say, "The UV Index is very high today, so be sure to slap on the sunscreen."

That's a lot of days in the Sunshine State, and it can impact you in more ways than you think. 

The UV, or Ultraviolet, Index, is determined by the National Weather Service using computer models, which predict the amount UV radiation expected to reach the Earth's surface during the sun's highest point. 

So why should you pay attention to the UV forecast? Because too much UV radiation can damage your skin.

The scale ranges from 1 to 11, with categories ranging from low to extreme. The higher the number, the higher the risk you can burn in a matter of minutes.

You've probably heard recommendations to apply SPF 30+, but here are a few more tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings while outdoors during peak heating times. For example, if you're at the beach, you need more than just SPF and sunglasses to stay safe.
  • Be sure to reapply sunscreen every few hours because water and sand reflect UV at different angles. That increases your exposure.
  • Away from your phone and can't access the News 6 Pinpoint Weather App? Try "the shadow rule."
  • The longer your shadow, the less UV to which you're exposed. Taller shadows happen later or earlier in the day. You'll notice a shorter shadow when the sun is right above you, usually from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Keep in mind, even on cloudy days, your skin can burn. In addition to wearing sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing are other ways to protect your eyes and skin. 

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