Ultraviolet radiation effects the body in a number of unhealthy ways, sometimes even leading to cancer. With the help of this write-up let us discuss the effects of ultraviolet radiation on humans…
Each of us gets exposed to the sun, whenever we go out during the day. Ultraviolet rays, also referred to as UV rays, are a part of the sun, which warms the Earth with its radiation. There are two kinds of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, differentiated by their wavelengths. Though coming from a natural source, UV rays can also be created in labs and directed through various equipment. These artificially created UV rays are implemented in a number of treatments. They are used in beauty as well as medical treatments.
In order to treat a particular diseased region in the body, the rays are concentrated on that particular region till the affected part is destroyed. This procedure is normally seen for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Though beneficial, it can prove toxic in the long run and affect health in many ways.
Health Effects of UV Radiation
Continuous and unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays can be hazardous to health. This is because ultraviolet radiation affects human skin in a number of ways and changes the basic structure of the skin which causes a number of problems to it. Not only is the skin affected, but the organs in the body also suffer damage as a result of continuous exposure to the sun’s harmful rays as well as the ones used for medical purposes. The ill effects can be acute and can turn chronic in the absence of timely and proper diagnosis and treatment.
- As the skin is an exposed organ, direct contact with ultraviolet radiation can cause extensive damage to it. The skin may become tanned, damaged, and appear to be dark and rough. Damaged skin is also one of the dangers of a tanning bed for people who also suffer from sunburns. This is because of coming in touch with UV rays for a longer period which can alter the condition of the skin.
- Sunburn is also another immediate and unwanted effect of UV radiation, especially occurring when the UVB rays of the sun come in contact with skin. The sign of sunburnt skin is a red patch on the skin, accompanied by a burning or pricking sensation.
- Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can make an individual susceptible to cancer, especially of the skin (basal and squamous cell carcinomas). Excessive amount of UV rays on the skin can lead to unnatural growth and development of certain cells which may result in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
- Premature aging of the skin, where there can be formation of wrinkles, creases, age spots and loose skin which may sag, is one of the negative effects that UV radiation has on the skin. The skin may begin to thicken and turn leathery with the passage of time. Due to repeated exposure, be it in case of natural or lab created UV rays, the skin may become unable to repair itself and suffer permanent damage.
- Ultraviolet radiation may also compromise the health of an individual by affecting the immune system. Since the body’s natural system gets affected, the person may become a victim of a number of infections and diseases, as the body becomes weak and unable to fight against them. It can also pose a risk to the individual as he is susceptible to even chronic diseases.
- The eyes can also get affected due to excessive UV radiation. The cornea, which is a sensitive part, of the eyes may get damaged and increase the risk of developing cataract, leading to cloudy or blurred vision. Degeneration of the macula, which is also one of the side effects of unhealthy UV radiation exposure results in the growth of tissue inside the retina, hampering vision. A failure to treat this condition can lead to permanent blindness. Skin cancer around the eyes is also one of the ultraviolet radiation effects.
These were some of the consequences of ultraviolet radiation on the overall health of an individual. In order to avoid these harmful consequences, one must wear protective gear and avoid direct exposure as much as possible.