Protecting Yourself Indoors from UV

Does shopping make you ill?  It may be from the lighting in the stores.   Fluorescent lighting and High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are often used in large warehouse type stores.  A two hour shopping spree can be equivalent to a full hour in the sun but without the sunburn. [Sewell] Hospitals and clinics also use very bright fluorescent lighting.  Schools are other locations that often rely on fluorescent lighting or HID lamps.  Some people with sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) are most sensitive to indoor lighting like fluorescent and other artificial lighting.  Indoor UV can trigger rashes, itching, low grade fevers and cause muscle and joint pain.  Other people describe the effects of UV lighting as giving them a "whoozy" feeling and makes them feel nauseous or fatigued. 

Protection from Indoor UV
Protect yourself from indoor UV radiation by using the same techniques as you would  for the sun outside: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, gloves. etc.   Wear sunscreens with high UVB and UVA protection.   Light colored sunglasses block out UV rays while indoors.

Minimize ultraviolet radiation in your home or workplace.   Remove sources of UV radiation such as fluorescent lighting and replace them with incandescent bulbs or task lamps (floor lamp, desk lamp, etc.).   Add UV shields to existing fluorescent lighting. 

Computer screens give off small amounts of UV radiation.  Most people are not affected by it.   If it is a problem, purchase an anti-glare screen that fits over the monitor.

Flat Panel Screens
Newer thin or flat panel computer monitors and laptop/notebook computer screens are Liquid Crystal type displays (LCDs).  Televisions are now available with screens using both LCD and plasma technology.   The XP Society attempted to measure UV that might be radiated from LCD screens.  They were unable to detect any UVA or UVB using meters capable of measuring as low as 1 microwatt per square centimeter in the UVA and UVB spectrum. [XP UV notes] 

Tanning lamps, emit mostly UV-A radiation with a few percent content of UV-B. Use of tanning lamps and beds can lead to significant exposures to UV-A radiation. Avoid tanning lamps.

Surgical lamps found in hospital operating room or dental operatories are designed to reduce the infrared loading to the patient and focus the visible light radiation.  The glass over the surgical spotlight filters out UVB and UVC radiations.

References: 
[Sewell] Sewell, Brenda "Rion" ,  Lupus, the Sun, and UV Rays 
[Navy] Ultraviolet Radiation Guide, Navy Environmental Health Center, April 1992
What is Ultraviolet Radiation?, Saskatchewan Labour Ultraviolet Radiation
UVR from Fluorescent Lamps, British Health Protection Agency, [Ultraviolet Radiation from Fluorescent Lamps]
[XP UV notes] Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation as it Relates to XP, Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society, http://www.xps.org/uvnotes.htm


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We are not physicians, we are people trying to learn about our conditions and better our lives. We try to be accurate, but the articles and advice may have errors, become out-of-date, or even give bad advice.

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