So many people are eager to enjoy time outdoors after the COVID-19 pandemic kept us in for so long. It’s wonderful to have warm weather and sunshine drawing us outside.
However, July is UV Safety Awareness Month which is an opportune time to be proactive about sun safety. Ultraviolet radiation can be dangerous to our skin, eyes, and lips. Exposure to UV rays is typically the cause of most skin cancers including, basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. It is also associated with Merkel cell carcinoma and lip cancer. The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed, and whether the skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and worldwide. Here are some additional facts they provide:
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
- If detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.
Skin cancer is often preventable. Taking steps to minimize UV exposure can be life-saving. Here are some tips to have a healthy summer in the sun:
- If possible, avoid being in the sun when UV rays are strongest: 10 am – 4 pm.
- Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two hours.
- Cover up– wear light-weight and light-colored fabrics.
- Protect your eyes and the delicate skin around your eyes with sunglasses. Look for sunglasses labeled “UV400” or “100% UV Protection.”
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your head, face, ears, and neck from the sun.
Know the risks associated with UV exposure and take the above precautions to protect you and your family for an enjoyable and safe summer outdoors.