Health & Injuries

Will Singapore Eventually Become Too Dangerous For Daytime Running Due to Ultraviolet Radiation?

by On Feb 27, 2018

Sun protection is crucial when running in the afternoon.

Ultraviolet Radiation in Singapore Hit “Extreme” Level, Runners Should Take Precautions When Running in the Afternoon

On Monday, 19 February 2018, the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation index of 15 was recorded at 1 and 2 p.m. According to Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS), extra protection against sunburn is needed when the UV Index value hits “Very High” (8 to 10) and “Extreme” (11 and above).

This could be a major cause for concern and experts suggested that precautions should be taken when staying under the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when sun intensity peaks and UV radiation is strongest according to The Straits Times.

If you really need to run in the afternoon, here are 10 survival tips on how to run in Singapore’s hot weather.

What is UV Index and What Affects It?

According to NEA (National Environment Agency):

The UV Index (UVI) is a simple and informative index jointly developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to measure the level of UV radiation exposure. The UVI describes the level of solar UV radiation at the Earth’s surface and is dependent on both UVA and UVB radiation.

Ultraviolet Radiation in Singapore Hit “Extreme” Level, Runners Should Take Precautions When Running in the Afternoon

Photo Credit: 123RF

The UV index ranges from 0 to 11+ and is grouped into various exposure categories indicating the potential for harmful effects to the skin and eyes:

  • 0 to 2: Low Level (no protection is needed)
  • 3 to 5: Medium Level (some protection against sunburn is needed)
  • 6 to 7: High Level (some protection against sunburn is needed)
  • 8 to 10: Very High Level (extra protection against sunburn is needed)
  • 11 and above: Extreme Level (extra protection against sunburn is needed)
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UV Index is affected by a country’s proximity to the equator as well as the amount of cloud cover. Countries located near the equator are exposed to higher levels of UV throughout the year.

What are the Harmful Effects of UV Radiation?

Some ultraviolet (UV) exposure is important for health functions such as Vitamin D production in the body. However, excessive exposure to UV radiation can cause harmful effects such as:

  • Skin cancer
  • Premature ageing and other skin damages
  • Cataracts and other eye damages
  • Body’s immune system
  • Skin’s natural defences

When Should You Avoid or Minimise Outdoor Activities?

According to NEA, Singapore experiences high levels of UV radiation year-round, averaging six to nine on the daily maximum UV Index. The UV radiation levels, or the UV index, vary throughout the day. The maximum UV radiation level typically occurs during the four-hour period between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Ultraviolet Radiation in Singapore Hit “Extreme” Level, Runners Should Take Precautions When Running in the Afternoon

Photo Credit: 123RF

How to Avoid or Minimise the Effect or UV Radiation?

To protect yourself against UV radiation, here are a couple of recommendations.

  • Stay out of the sun if possible.
  • Limit your exposure under the sun between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Keep shutters or curtains down if you’re exposed to UV rays that penetrate through windows.
  • Apply a generous amount of sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and PA level of +++. Reapply the sunscreen periodically.
  • Use umbrella.
  • Seek shade when possible.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Look out for the daily UV Index provided by NEA.
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How do you usually protect yourself from afternoon sun when running outdoor?

Eva is a casual runner who has been hooked on marathons since her first race in 2011. She’s content to spend her weekends only on running. She is also a hiking enthusiast and traveling addict. When she’s not doing outdoor activities, she indulges in reading.

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