What is the UV Index?

The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place on a particular day. Its purpose is to help people to effectively protect themselves from UV light.  Public-health organizations, such as The  United States Environmental Protection Agency) recommend that people protect themselves (for example, by applying sunscreen to the skin and wearing a hat).

Recommendations for protection when the day’s predicted UV index is at various values are:

UV Index Description Media Graphic Color Recommended Protection
0–2 No danger to the average person Green Wear sunglasses on bright days; use sunscreen if there is snow on the ground, which reflects UV radiation, or if you have particularly fair skin.
3–5 Little risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Yellow Wear sunglasses and use SPF 30+ sunscreen, cover the body with clothing and a hat, and seek shade around midday when the sun is most intense.
6–7 High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Orange Wear sunglasses and use SPF 30+ sunscreen, cover the body with sun protective clothing and a wide-brim hat, and reduce time in the sun from (roughly 11:00 to 16:00 during summer in zones that observe daylight saving time).
8–10 Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Red Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen, a shirt, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not stay out in the sun for too long.  Avoid the sun from (roughly 11:00 to 16:00 during summer in zones that observe daylight saving time).
11+ Extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure Violet Take all precautions, including: wear sunglasses and use SPF 30+ sunscreen, cover the body with a long-sleeve shirt and trousers, wear a very broad hat, and avoid the sun from (roughly 11:00 to 16:00 during summer in zones that observe daylight saving time).

Click here to learn how the UV index is calculated

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