Experts are calling for a hot, really hot Semana Santa (Easter Week) in most areas of the country, in particular in Guanacaste, where daytime temperatures are expected to hit 36 Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) and higher.

Protection from the sun (UV radiation) is not only for the beaches but also in the mountains

The experts also foresee a reduction in the wind gusts that hit up to 85 km/h in some areas the last couple of days and drizzling rain in the Caribbean and in the North Zone.

If you are heading out to the beaches, remember to use sunblock. The same is true in the higher elevations, ie mountains, where ultraviolet radiation can affect you as well.

Several things determine the sun’s intensity. The closer to the equator you are, the more intense the sun’s rays. But also, the higher up you are, the more intense the sun’s rays.

At higher altitudes, a thinner atmosphere filters less UV radiation. With every 1,000 meters increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10% to 12%.

Sun height—the higher the sun in the sky, the higher the UV radiation level.

Latitude—the closer the equator, the higher the UV radiation levels. Costa Rica is on the 9th parallel north, that is 9 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane. 9°0′N 83°38′W.

Cloud cover— UV radiation levels are highest under cloudless skies. Even with cloud cover, UV radiation levels can be high due to the scattering of UV radiation by water molecules and fine particles in the atmosphere.

UV rays can also damage the eyes as more than 99% of UV radiation is absorbed by the front of the eyes. Corneal damage, cataracts, and macular degeneration are all possible chronic effects from UV exposure and can ultimately lead to blindness. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can also develop within the eye.

Protect yourself, use sunscreen.

A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You want to block both UVA and UVB rays to guard against skin cancer. Be sure to follow application directions on the bottle.


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