Everyone who goes outside is exposed to the sun. It is important to know there are benefits and risks of sun exposure.

Small amounts of the sun’s rays are good for us, creating vitamin D that absorbs calcium, which your body needs to build and maintain healthy bones. Ultra Violet (UV) rays from the sun can also help treat some health conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rickets or jaundice.

Too much sun, however, allows the UV rays to reach the inner layers of the skin resulting in sunburn. Signs of sunburn include:

■ Redness. Your skin turns red due to an increase in blood flow. It can happen right away or over time.

■ Hot skin. You also can get goose bumps or chills.

■ Pain

■ Itchy or tight skin

■ Blisters

■ Dehydration

■ Peeling. This is your body’s way of shedding the dead cells.

We are all at risk of the effects of sun exposure, no matter our age or skin color. The risk, however, increases with the amount of time in the sun and the depth of exposure. You are also at greater risk if you have fair skin or moles.

There are ways to prevent the harmful effects of sun exposure. Consider these guidelines as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

■ Use sunscreen whenever outdoors. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and say “broad-spectrum” on the label.

■ Reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes, or more often when sweating or swimming.

■ Protect your eyes with sunglasses that provide UV protection.

■ Cover up with wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and pants. It’s particularly important to be sure children and babies are covered up.

■ Try to avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

■ Don’t use tanning beds.

There are other factors to keep in mind in regard to sun exposure. Some medicines can make you more sensitive to the sun and its UV rays. Check with your doctor or your pharmacist for side effects.

The sun’s rays also reflect off certain surfaces, such as water, concrete, sand and snow. Keep your location and the weather conditions in mind when planning activities. You can get a sunburn while skiing and even when it’s cloudy.

If you have questions about sun exposure or the effects on your skin, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.

Audra Hermanson is a C-PNP at Bellin Health Marinette.