Reduce the Effects of Too Much Fun in the Sun
May 24, 2017
Whether you’re swimming at the pool, cruising on the lake or simply spending time in the great outdoors, the summer sun is nothing to take lightly. The sun’s ultraviolent (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these simple tips to protect yourself and your family.
- Seek Shade – You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, a tree or other shelter to find relief from the sweltering sun.
- Clothing – When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can help protect you from the sun’s UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offers the best UV protection. Darker colors are also more protective than lighter colors. Don’t forget to also cover your head. A hat with a brim is a great way to shade your face, ears and back of your neck.
- Sunscreen – Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on cloudy or cool days. Sunscreen does wear off though. It’s important to reapply your sunscreen after being in the sun for more than two hours or after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Did you know that sunscreen has a shelf life? View the expiration date on your sunscreen before heading outside. Sunscreen lasts no more than three years.
Don’t think the sun’s UV rays affect you? Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancer of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Sun exposure can cause basal and squamous cell skin cancer, as well as melanoma skin cancer. Many observational studies have found that these skin cancers can be linked to certain behaviors that put people in the sun, such as:
- Spending time in the sun for recreation
- Spending a lot of time in the sun in a swimsuit
- Having had serious sunburns in the past
It’s important to check at home for the following signs of any type of skin cancer:
- New moles
- Moles that increase in size
- Outline of a mole that becomes notched
- A spot that changes colors from brown to black or is varied
- Moles that are itchy or tingle – be sure to look out for those that bleed as well
- Spots that look different from others
Before you head out into the sun this summer, be sure to apply sunscreen and do your best to find shade. Your skin is the largest organ of the body, and you must protect it from the dangers of UV rays! From all of us here at HRMC, have a safe and happy summer!
Sources: Skin Cancer Foundation, CDC, American Cancer Society
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