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Sun Safety Tips and Reminders
Although sun safety should be top of mind always, it tends to get more attention during the summer because people typically spend more time outside at this time of year. Bayhealth Cancer Nurse Navigator Renee Hall, RN, shares the following sun safety tips and reminders to help protect your skin from the sun and reduce risk for skin cancer.
- Apply sunscreen often. “When it comes to sun safety, sunscreen application is what you should focus on,” says Hall. “I often joke that the best sunscreen is the one you’ll put on. You also need to reapply frequently; every 90 minutes is what is recommended. This may seem like a lot, but you have to account for swimming and sweating, especially for the little ones.”
- Don’t forget to protect your face, your ears and your chest. While it’s important to apply sunscreen everywhere, there are a few places that need special attention says Hall. “Everyone should be sure to protect their face, ears and chest. The ears are especially important for men since they’re more inclined to have shorter hair that doesn’t cover them. Women need to be mindful of protecting their upper chest area since they often wear V-neck or scoop-neck shirts.”
- Wear a hat and long-sleeved light clothing. “Anytime you’re outside for extended periods of time, while doing yard work, for example, you also should wear a hat that will shade your nose and the rest of your face,” says Hall. “Also be sure to wear long-sleeved light clothing, which will further protect your skin from the sun.”
- Do monthly skin self-exams. Hall says these skin self-exams can be equated to breast self-exams. They will help you identify any potential problems, ideally early on, so you can seek medical attention. “Be sure to check places you wouldn’t necessarily think about such as between your fingers and toes and on the bottoms of your feet,” she says. “The idea is to look for anything that’s changing or is irregular. You can even use your smartphone to take pictures so you can compare them each month.”
- Everyone is at risk for developing skin cancers. A common misconception related to sun safety is that people with darker skin don’t have to worry about it as much. “This isn’t true,” says Hall. “Recommendations are no different for people with darker skin, as they’re also at risk for developing skin cancers.”
In the unlikely and unfortunate event you follow these sun safety recommendations, yet still end up with sunburn, Hall says the best treatments are anything that makes it feel better such as aloe lotions or over-the-counter pain relievers. “Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids because you can get dehydrated very quickly,” she adds.
Visit the Bayhealth Community Health Blog to learn more about how you can keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this summer.