UV light should not be used to prevent or treat COVID-19

Exposure to UV radiation can increase your risk of skin cancer

Published on April 30, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S., we know people are searching for answers on how to prevent or treat the virus—especially cancer patients, who are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Despite recent speculation, there is no evidence that UV radiation has any impact on the virus.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® cautions anyone considering using UV radiation to stop immediately and speak with a trained medical professional.

Though there’s no evidence that UV radiation can protect you from COVID-19, it can pose a serious risk to your health. Whether through exposure to the sun or through a tanning bed, exposure to UV radiation significantly increases your risk for skin cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Too much exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancers, including melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. UV exposure can also cause cataracts and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma). Every time you tan, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer.”

The Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages you to wear protective clothing (sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved clothing), use sunscreens and lip balms (with UVA/UVB protection and at least 30 SPF) and seek shade when outside. When using sunscreen, make sure you reapply every 2 hours. Learn more here.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, contact your health care provider.

Sign up to get the latest about cancer prevention and early detection directly in your inbox.