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Ask Accordia: School is out, and the grandkids and I love getting outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and play in the garden. I do not want to risk anyone getting sunburned or skin cancer. What steps should I take to protect everyone while in the sun?
We all head outside in summer – trips to the lake, barbecues with friends and growing those homegrown tomatoes. The CDC says skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
Here is something to think about, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all the other cancers combined. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Before heading outside, make sure to use plenty of sunscreen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it only takes 15 minutes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. UV rays can also reach you on cloudy days and also reflect off surfaces like water, cement and sand.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher protects your skin. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF), which is a number that rates how well they filter out UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection.
Make sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going in the sun for best results and every two hours after that, as well as after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. And make sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen; most have a shelf life, so throw out any past its expiration date.
Remember that sunscreens should not be the only defense against the sun.
- Stay in the shade or under cover as much as possible.
- Wear protective gear such as a hat, sunglasses and sun-safe clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) for the best protection.
Have fun this summer while protecting your health, and if you do not have a primary care team, call us at Accordia Health, 256-377-8008. We are located at 9518 U.S. Highway 231 in Rockford, Alabama 35136.
Accordia Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center. Accordia accepts all patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, and offers a wide variety of services through a sliding fee discount program based on family size and income. We also accept Medicare, Medicaid, ALL Kids, and most private insurance.