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The Fall Equinox and UV

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The Fall Equinox and UV
By A. G. Moore 8/26/2013

OSHA Illustration of the Electromagnetic Spectrum  

From Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain

I woke this morning in a poetic mood, but lacking the ability to write poems, I decided to settle for a reflective essay. I hope my readers will indulge this exercise, which was prompted by the changing of the seasons. I come from farmer stock and something in me resonates as leaves on trees turn color and signal the coming of a long winter’s rest….

The cicadas’ song has become more insistent with the waning of August. Fall is palpable–as is a sense of relief. The season of sun is receding and with it that invisible barrier to free movement: UV radiation. I’m no longer young, so cold weather does not hold for me the compensatory promise of winter entertainment; chill creeps into the joints these days, and settles obstinately. Snow throws down the challenge of removal and ice threatens treachery as I mince my steps on frozen paths.

So the cicada’s song, trilling shrilly outside my window, sends a mixed message. I will be free once again to venture midday without wearing layers of coverup but a price is extracted for this open access. Isn’t that always the way life bargains? Get a little and give a little. In between the giving and getting try to insure that enough good is left over to allow productive enjoyment of our lives.

So, a happy autumn to everyone who lives, as I do, in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. May we wrest from each day a bit of pleasure and some measure of productive effort.

Reminders about the perils of UV exposure for people who have lupus and other UV sensitive conditions:

*UV can come from the sun or from artificial sources

*Indoor sources of UV include halogen and fluorescent lights 

*Harm incurred is influenced by length of exposure and proximity to source

*Inexpensive light filters can limit UV exposure from indoor sources

*Sunblocks may help to protect from UV

*Some people–me, for example–are allergic to many commercial sunblock products

*Protective gear, such as clothing, hats and umbrellas, may offer the best protection from UV

*UVA and UVB are both harmful–UVA goes through glass so car windows, unless coated, do not shield

*If you live in the U.S., there is a handy UV metric offered on the EPA website. Just fill in your zip code and a UV risk number (1-10) will be provided for that day.

*An excellent article, Sun Safety, about UV is provided by the University of California (Berkely) on its Tang Center website

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