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Health & Wellness

Staying Sun Safe This Summer

One blistering sunburn can double a child’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.

 by Asma Khan, MD
Heading to the beach, playing sports, and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends are some of our favorite summer past times. But it’s important to protect yourself and your family this season by increasing your sun safety knowledge.

Sun Safety Tips

Overexposure to the sun can result in health complications later in life, including skin cancer. And as the earth’s ozone layer continues to decrease, our exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays increases.
Remember these sun safety tips as you and your family spend time outside this summer:

  1. Take extra precaution between 10a and 4p, when the sun is at its strongest
  2. Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly over all exposed areas of your body
    • Look for sunscreens that provide an SPF of at least 15
    • For children, look for an SPF of 30 or higher
    • Reapply after swimming or heavy perspiration
  3. Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection
  4. Keep children under six months out of the sun
  5. Remember that UV rays bounce off concrete, sand, and water
  6. Do not use sun tanning beds
  7. When possible, stay in the shade

What About Vitamin D?

There has been a recent surge in interest in Vitamin D–both in its health benefits and how to safely obtain it. Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy diet, as it helps maintain strong bones and teeth, and helps to prevent certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
A common misconception is that the best source of Vitamin D is unprotected exposure to UV rays. There are much safer and equally effective ways of getting your daily requirement without putting yourself at risk for skin cancer. Introduce foods rich in Vitamin D to your diet, including most fish and eggs, and foods fortified with Vitamin D like milk, cereal, bread, and yogurt.

Sun Safety: What You Need to Know

Sun safety is important at all ages and in all kinds of weather. Sunburns can happen on cloudy days as well as sunny. Take extra precautions with your children, as they receive three times the sun exposure of adults on average.
In some parts of the world, melanoma (skin cancer) is increasing at a faster rate than any other kind of cancer. In the United States, more than 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. One blistering sunburn can double a child’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. So get outside, but be sure to stay safe!

Asma Khan, MD, is the Clinical Director at HRHCare Urgent Care, 84 N Highland Ave between High Street and Sickles Ave in Nyack. Along with offices in Haverstraw and Spring Valley, the facility is part of the 28 health center HRHCare network in the Hudson Valley and Long Island providing comprehensive primary care.

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