This Friday, May 24th, has been recognized as “Don’t Fry Day” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) according to an announcement by EPA on Monday, May 20. The organizations hope to educate those at risk of developing skin cancer on ways to prevent and treat it.
Residents of Bakersfield and Kern County should be particularly interested due to the intense heat and bright summer days for those who live, work, and play in the area.
“While we’re making progress toward restoring the Earth’s ozone layer, Americans need to take steps now for extra protection from harmful UV rays and skin cancer,” said Janet McCabe, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Americans can stay safe under the sun and enjoy the outdoors by taking simple steps such as using sunscreen and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.”
“If current trends continue, one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, and many of these skin cancers could be prevented by reducing UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning devices,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Of particular concern is the increase we are seeing in rates of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. In the United States, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among people ages 15 to 29 years.”
“Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer. Everyone can get sunburned and suffer harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation from time spent outdoors,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Consumers can protect themselves by choosing a sunscreen that is right for them, wearing protective clothing and limiting time in the sun.”
To see seven of the recommendations, be sure to click on the accompanying slide show.
For more information:
Facts about skin cancer in California
EPA sun safety tips
Sun hats and protective clothing
Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection when possible. Minimizing the amount of skin exposed to sunlight in this manner reduces the risk of developing skin cancer.
Don’t get sunburned
Most people don’t know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, even though it’s preventable. More than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually.
Exposure to too much sunlight (and its UV radiation) may be dangerous, resulting in painful sunburn, skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts, and immune system suppression.
Seek shady spots
Seek shade when possible, such as this beach umbrella. Additionally, remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Avoid tanning beds
As with natural sunlight, UV radiation from tanning beds may also cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Avoiding tanning beds, therefore, reduces the risk of developing cancer.
If you must go outside, apply a liberal amount (about one ounce) of sunscreen to cover all exposed skin 15 minutes before. Use one with that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Be sure to reapply it every two hours, after sweating or swimming, and on cloudy days too.
Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand
The risk of developing skin cancer not only depends upon ones exposure to direct sunlight, but also to reflected sunlight too. Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Use the UV Index
Every day, the National Weather Service and EPA issue the UV Index. It provides important information to help you plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. You should refer to it whenever planning any outside activities.