The ultraviolet index reaches extreme and highly dangerous levels in the summer season, which begins in mid-March and ends in May. In the summer season, people must take precautions. The Health Department has warned of health risks caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays and urges residents to take precautions against the hazardous rays. The department has advised the people across the country to stay indoors unless required, avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., seek shade and wear headwear and long-sleeved clothing at all times. While a UV index reading between 0 and 2 poses little danger, an index between 6 and 7 poses considerable health risks, with severe damage to the eyes and skin possible if they are unprotected. Any index measurement above 11 means extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure, with skin and eyes burning within minutes. The UV index is an international standard measurement of the strength of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place and time. Small amounts of UV radiation can be beneficial. It is essential for the production of Vitamin D, and under medical supervision can be used to treat a number of diseases, including rickets, psoriasis, eczema and jaundice, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, at high levels, UV radiation can damage the skin and eyes over time. Worldwide, some 12 to 15 million people become blind annually from cataracts, of which up to 20 per cent may be caused or exacerbated by sun exposure, according to the WHO. Over the past two years, Yangon has seen summertime UV readings reach 13. Summer in Myanmar, which lasts from March to May, is entering its hottest weeks. Special advice goes to revelers who will enjoy the Thingyan water festival, which coincides with the hottest weather in mid-April. Because of heavy traffic due to the queuing of cars that are waiting to get doused with water at the numerous pandals, revelers have more exposure to sun and should pay particular attention to protecting themselves against the sun. The country sees an increase in sun-related skin conditions and other heat-related health problems in the summer as the temperature rise. Aged people and children are advised to take shelter under shady places and in places with good ventilation. People are advised to avoid working under the sun. Experts urge residents to use sunblock and apply it every four hours. Clothing and cover is essential to shade yourself from the sun. Experts say “thanaka”, the ancient traditional cosmetic paste made from the bark of the “thanaka” tree can also be used, as it can act as a barrier from the sun, absorb oil and cool the skin.