It doesn't matter whether you're on the beach or in the mountains, it's wonderful to soak up the sun. Sunshine also boosts our sense of wellbeing and provides us with important building blocks for producing vitamin D.
Having enough vitamin D means that you are also likely to have healthy muscles and bones, which reduces the risk of fractures if you have a fall. Human beings produce the vitamin D that they need to stay in good health. With the help of the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, the skin produces the required amount of vitamin D. Short periods spent in full sunshine are sufficient to cover our daily needs in the summer. So there's no need to sunbathe for hours.
UV radiation and the UV index
Sunlight consists of three different types of radiation: infra-red, light and ultraviolet (UV). Around 4% of the sun's rays are UV rays. These are neither visible nor noticeable on the skin. Excessive exposure to radiation can damage the skin cells and lead to sunburn or eye damage. Those who expose themselves to UV rays unprotected over a protracted period risk sunburn, accelerated skin ageing and, in extreme cases, skin cancer.
To publicise the dangers of UV radiation, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) publishes a daily UV index forecast
(in German) showing how strong the UV radiation is expected to be in each region.
How can I protect myself?
To avoid sunburn and inflammation, avoid prolonged and intensive exposure to sunlight. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
recommends the following rules (in German):
- If possible, avoid the midday sun (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and stay in the shade or indoors.
- Clothing and headgear provide the best protection against UV radiation.
- All uncovered parts of the body should be generously covered in sun cream with a high sun protection factor (at least 30 SPF for children and 20 for adults).
- Use sunglasses (with 100% UV protection) to protect your eyes