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Summer fun sun safety

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Warmer temperatures stronger sun comes much needed sun protection

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Summer time has arrived and more and more people are enjoying the warmer temperatures and spending time outdoors. During the summer times the sun’s rays are extremely strong making protection from sun crucial. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase the risk for skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 86 percent of melanomas are attributed to UV radiation exposure.

According to Dr. Perry Robins, MD, Founder and President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Since skin cancer is highly preventable, embracing sun protection this summer and year-round is crucial.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following tips to help families practice a sun-safe summer:

Sunscreen; Use broad spectrum sunscreen daily and for extended outdoor activities use a water resistant broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF means the amount of UVB protection a sunscreen offers. A sunscreen of SPF 30 blocks almost 97% of UVB radiation.

Clothing; Make sure to cover up with clothing. Clothing choices should be high-UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) for swim shirts and rash guards. Choose bathing suits that cover more skin like one piece suits and long trunks. When you’re not in the water a good choice is loose fitting tunics and sarongs.

Extra precautions; Water reflects about 80% of the sun's rays, and around 15% adding to overall exposure. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Cover up with clothing and use a beach umbrella for children to play under.

Talk to teens about tanning; Teenagers like to lay out in the sun or visit tanning salons but there is no such thing as a safe tan. Tanning itself is caused by DNA damage to the skin. Remind teens that tanning increases skin cancer risk, including melanoma. Fact ; people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75%. In addition, tanning leads to premature skin aging, including wrinkles, leathery skin and age spots.

Children and Summer Camp

Seek shade; Tell children to play in the shaded areas in order to limit UV exposure. Check with counselors to see if there are adequate places for campers to seek shade during outdoor activities taking place between 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are most intense.

Children need protective clothing; For maximum sun protection send children to camp in long-sleeve shirts and pants. Tightly woven or knit, dark or bright colored fabrics offer the best protection. Do not forget wide-brimmed hats and wraparound, UV-blocking sunglasses.

Practice sunscreen application; Beforehand, teach children sunscreen application by applying one ounce (2 tablespoons, or about the size of a golf ball), of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before outdoor activities Remind them to cover easily missed areas such as the back of ears and neck, and the tops of feet and hands. If camp rules will allow it, ask counselors to help children reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating

Additional prevention tips;

Avoid sunburn; It does not matter what age you are. The risk for melanoma doubles for any age if he or she has had five or more sunburns.

No sun for newborns; Keep newborns out of the sun. Babies over the age of six months should use sunscreen.

Practice what you preach; Incorporate these tips into your own lifestyle. You’ll not only set a good example, but you’ll reduce your risk of skin cancer, sun damage and skin aging.

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