|SunSafe Tips - Protect yourself from the Sun
Cover Up - Wear Protective Clothes
Wear a wide brimmed cap or a "shade" cap (baseball type cap with
material draping down). Wear proper sun protection for your eyes. Because
our eyes are so sensitive, sunglasses need to be UV rated to block 99-100%
of UV rays to be effective. Glasses with large wrap around frames protect
your eyes from all angles. UV rated glasses are also available in children's
sizes and are available at many optical stores. Wear clothing that is lightweight,
loose fitting and made of tightly woven fabric. Remember, if you can see
light through the fabric, so can the sun. For example, a cotton T-shirt
has a UPF rating of 5 to 8. To be effective, the fabric should have a UPF
rating of at least 30 or above. Also, wet clothing allows the sun's rays
to pass through more easily.
Wear sunscreen with labels stating "sunscreen" or "sunblock".
When applied correctly, these lotions absorb, reflect or scatter some
of the sun's rays. Initially it was believed that only UVB rays were damaging
to skin, however more recent studies indicate that both UVA and UVB radiation
contribute to skin cancer. Therefore, only the newly-developed "broad-spectrum"
products with SPF of at least 15 are recommended for protection against
both types of UV radiation. These broad-spectrum sunscreens should be
applied liberally 15-30 minutes before going outdoors (including lips,
nose, ears, neck, hands, feet and eyelids) and reapplied every few hours
thereafter, especially after exercise or swimming.
Obviously, staying inside is the best way to protect yourself from the
sun's harmful rays but not very realistic. Minimize your exposure and
still enjoy the outdoors by avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 and
3p.m. when the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Try to schedule
outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the UV rays
are weaker. A good rule to follow: if your shadow is shorter than you,
stay out of the sun. The shorter the shadow, the stronger the sun. Stay
out of the sun when the UV index is high in your area. Check the UV index
Skin cancer rates are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. The ozone
layer plays an important role in protecting against the sun's harmful
rays and artificial chemicals are causing it to deteriorate. There is
an obvious correlation between the diminished ozone layer and rising skin
cancer rates. The condition of the ozone layer varies and is influenced
by several factors: the seasons, latitude and changing weather patterns
to name a few. Melanoma incidence for those living near the equator, in
regions in New Zealand, Australia and Scotland more than doubled over
the past 8 years. In the United States, Arizona has the highest incidence
of skin cancer.
Children from the Sun
One bad sunburn can double a child's risk of contracting skin cancer later
in life. Keep them covered up with clothing, hats and sunglasses, in the
shade and apply sunscreen daily to children over 6 months. Infants are
not sufficiently developed to metabolize sunscreen chemicals safely. It
is recommended that sunscreen not be used on babies less than 6 months
old. Specific questions about using sunscreen on babies should be directed
to your pediatrician.