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Solutions put forward to gain benefits from sunlight amid extreme heatwave in Vietnam

Solutions put forward to gain benefits from sunlight amid extreme heatwave in Vietnam

Thursday, April 04, 2024, 16:46 GMT+7
Solutions put forward to gain benefits from sunlight amid extreme heatwave in Vietnam
A young girl walks along a sunlit street in Vietnam. Photo: Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre

Residents were advised to effectively manage regular sun exposure to both gain benefits from the natural light and prevent skin diseases, heard a panel discussion held in downtown Ho Chi Minh City by Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo on Thursday.

Sunlight is both beneficial and harmful to people’s health, dermatologist Vuong The Bich Thanh from the University Medical Center under the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City told attendees at the event, as part of a press briefing to introduce Uniqlo’s sun protection products.

“We should get a sufficient amount of natural sunlight to improve our physical and mental health,” she underlined.

People are advised to get 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week.

Sunlight helps boost vitamin D in the body, which plays a crucial role in metabolizing calcium, supporting bone health, and enhancing the function of the neuromuscular and immune systems.

Being exposed to natural sunlight can also keep people energetic.

On the other hand, sunlight’s negative effect on people comes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Excessive exposure to UV light can result in various skin conditions, including tissue damage, suntan, sunburn, dermatitis, wrinkles, freckles, premature aging, and in severe cases, skin cancer.

The sun emits ultraviolet radiation across all wavelengths.

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is classified into three primary types: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC), based on their wavelengths, Dr. Thanh said.

UVC is the most dangerous, but all UVC and some UVB rays are absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer.

Meanwhile, UVA and the remaining UVB rays are transmitted through the atmosphere, so most of the UV rays people come in contact with are UVA and a small amount of UVB.

UVA rays tend to cause premature aging of the skin, while UVB rays typically cause skin cancers and sunburn, according to Dr. Thanh.

The levels of UV radiation change day by day and season by season. Notably, in the summer, when the heat reaches its peak, the level of UV is extremely high.

She cited several recent global scientific studies as showing that the level of UV light has increased sharply year by year.

In July last year, several provinces and localities in Vietnam recorded a UV index of 10 or 11 regarded as ‘extreme,' according to the national weather center.

As a result, skin protection can be vital, she underscored.

People should minimize their exposure to UV light and take measures to protect their skin both indoors and outdoors, regardless of weather conditions, including during both rainy and sunny seasons.

UV radiation can still penetrate window glass.

On cloudy days, up to 80 percent of UV light can pass through clouds to reach humans’ skin, according to the World Health Organization.

Residents are advised to use sunscreen, with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher, year-round, rain or shine, wear sun protective clothing, and stay in the shade.

Many patients with skin diseases such as lupus are advised to avoid sun exposure in order not to worsen their illness, while some others should be exposed to sunlight for 10 minutes in the morning to help speed up their recovery, Dr. Thanh told Tuoi Tre News.

She concluded that sunlight has both positive and negative effects on people, so residents should balance their exposure to it to protect themselves and benefit from it.

Many parts in Vietnam are forecast to continue experiencing scorching heat on Friday, with the highest temperature reaching 39 degrees Celsius.

The hot weather will extend until Sunday in Lai Chau, Dien Bien, and Son La Provinces in northern Vietnam, as well as several central provinces from Nghe An to Phu Yen.

The heatwave might weaken next week, Thanh Nien (Young People) reported, citing the national weather center.

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Tieu Bac / Tuoi Tre News

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