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July is National UV Safety Month, and while it’s easily overlooked it’s definitely not unimportant. Overexposure to the sun can result in problems with your sight and further damage to the eye, a suppressed immune system, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.
Studies have shown that there are more new cases of skin cancer diagnosed than there is combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers, and that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.
So it’s time to be smart, get prepared, and learn how to prevent having to deal with the harmful effects of UV.
Be sure to stay in the shade. As much as possible, try to stay in the shade between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Just because it’s cloudy out doesn’t mean UV rays can’t affect your skin, to avoid being in the sun during that timeframe, especially at midday.
Be sure to cover up. If you do have to be exposed to the sun during the hottest hours of the day, cover up with a hat, light but long-sleeved and long-legged clothing, and sunglasses.
Be sure to apply sunscreen. Sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer, so apply sunscreen on all exposed areas of your body, not just your face. Reapply every two hours, and more often if you’re extra active in the sun throughout the day.
Be sure you choose the right sunscreen. According to the U.S. FDA’s regulations for sunscreen labelling, the sunscreen you should use should have an SPF of at least 15 and should protect you against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays. The latter have short wavelengths and reach the outer layer of the skin, while the former’s rays penetrate the middle layer.
Be sure to be on the lookout for new marks or moles on your skin. Try to be observant of new marks and moles that appear after you’ve been exposed to the sun. This may be an indication of skin cancer. Schedule regular check-ups with your physician and be sure to bring up anything that draws your attention.
Make sure your summer fun is as safe as possible. Other than being mindful of exposure to the sun’s rays, be smart, get prepared, and be sure you have a first aid kit on hand in case you run into any accidents. Find one here.