Now that summer and warmer weather have finally arrived, it’s time to go outside and play with family, do yard work, or relax by the pool. However the nice weather and these fun activities put people at risk of more exposure to the sun’s harmful UV radiation and its dangerous side effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports some sunlight is beneficial to our health, but too much exposure can cause sunburn, eye-blinding diseases, and skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and prolonged exposure to UV radiation increases the chance of developing it over time. According to the CDC, people who spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned, have light-color skin, hair, and eyes, have a family member with skin cancer, or are over 50 have a higher risk of developing skin cancer and should take steps to avoid too much sun.
It is critical for everyone to avoid excessive sun exposure at all times to prevent the threat of skin cancer. Follow these tips from the CDC to stay safe from the sun’s rays:
- Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours when the sun can cause the most damage.
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Use sunscreen every day with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher, for both UVA and UVB protection.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after getting wet.
- Avoid indoor tanning. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of developing melanoma.
- Pay close attention to children playing in the sun.
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun so stay alert and informed to get the most out of the activities and beautiful sunshine this summer season has to offer.
Little Company of Mary offers free skin cancer screenings. For more information regarding these screenings, please call 708-423-5774.