Accessibility View Close toolbar

801 Twelve Oaks Center Dr., Suite 810

Wayzata, MN 55391 USA


Don't get burned by lack of UV knowledge

By David Freidson | Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:00 am

Dateline-Saturday, May 17, 2014. City-Plymouth.

The first nice weekend day of the spring. I saw kids across the street setting up a lemonade stand; a couple walked by with their dog; a family biked by our house; people were tending to their yards-a buzz was in the air.

This was the first day of spring that the Freidson family was going to walk to the park.

The temperature was in the upper 60s. My wife and I didn't want our kids to be too cold so we made sure they wore pants and long-sleeve shirts.

After the 15-minute walk to the park, 30 minutes spent at the park and the 15-minute walk back, we were home. I noticed my kid's cheeks were pink. I figured it was just the playing they did that caused the pinkness and that it would go away after a bit inside. After a couple of hours the color persisted.

Uh oh, the kids were a bit sunburned. My 20-month-old son actually had a slight fever due to the sun.

The guilt set in. How could I let my kids get sunburned? Why didn't we put sunscreen lotion on them? We were so focused on keeping our kids warm enough we didn't think about protecting their skin from the sun. The only good thing out of this experience was that I came up with the topic for my monthly column -how hot does it have to be to get sunburned?

The answer I discovered in my research is that it depends. It isn't the number on the thermometer that counts; it is the ultraviolet (UV) index number that counts.

The sun basically emits energy over three wavelengths: Infrared radiation that we feel as heat, visible light that you can see and UV radiation that you can't see or feel. UV radiation is what affects the body.

UV radiation helps the body produce vitamin D, which is great. But what isn't so great about UV radiation is that it causes skin cancer, premature aging of the skin and cataracts.

The UV index is a one to 11 scale created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Before my research, I had falsely thought that the EPA mainly only monitored businesses to ensure they weren't producing harmful chemicals for the environment. But I discovered the mission of the EPA is "to protect human health and the environment." Too much UV radiation is harmful to human health so I can see how it fits under the EPA's jurisdiction to monitor these waves.

The higher the number on the UV index, the higher the amount of UV radiation that reaches the earth. Two or less is low; three to five is moderate; six to seven is high; eight to 10 very high; and 11+ is extremely high.

These numbers don't mean anything by themselves. But there is a great chart used to determine time for unprotected skin to burn based on the UV index number. Two and below, it takes 60 minutes to get burned. Three to four is 45 minutes; five to six is 30 minutes; seven to nine is 15-25 minutes; and a UV index number of 10 or higher burns skin in 10 minutes.

The UV index numbers are also a guide on the type of sun screen that is recommended. Generally below three, no protection is needed.

SPF 15 sunscreen is recommended when the UV index number between three-7.9. SPF 30 is recommended for a UV index of 8-11.

"That's nice," you say, but how do you know what the UV index number is so you can protect yourself and your family properly?

Every day the National Weather Service posts the high UV index number for each major city. To search by zip code, you can go to,

For the 58 percent of Americans that have a smart phone, there's an app for that. I downloaded the free UV index app from the EPA-it's great. You can see what the UV index is by hour.

Common sense would say that the cloudier it is, the lower the UV index is but that isn't always the case. And temperature is not the best indicator of the UV index. We know it can be 80s at night and obviously there is really no UV rays getting to earth at night.

My suggestion is to get the app on your phone if you can. And when in doubt, you can't go wrong with too much protection: Hat, sunglasses, UV protection clothing and 30+ sunscreen.

David Freidson is a licensed chiropractor and works out of the Synergy Health & Rehabilitation office in Minnetonka. To learn more, visit or call 952-475-4080.

Sign-up using the form or call us at 952-475-4080

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


7:00 am-6:30 pm


9:00 am-4:00 pm


7:00 am-6:30 pm


9:00 am-4:00 pm


7:00 am-6:30 pm


By Appointment Only


By Appointment Only


Find us on the map


Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Staff is always friendly. Dr Dave always asks (and listens!) how I am doing and adjusts my treatment as needed. He is great about letting me know what I can expect from treatments and has referred me to a sleep center and a neurologist for symptoms he felt could be better addressed by them. Best of all, he was right. The combination treatments have me feeling better than I have in years."
    Lisa M.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More


Sign up for more articles