By Greta Nelson, RN, Good Samaritan Society — Services@Home
Most of us spend the long winter months longing for summer to return. We look forward to cook outs, trips to the pool, walks outside, gardening, and just enjoying the touch of the warm sun on our skin again. It is important to remember that sun exposure can lead to more serious things than an irritating sunburn.
Our skin is the first layer of defense on our bodies, it is also the largest organ covering approximately 22 square feet, on an average adult, and weighing about eight pounds. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation coming from the sun or tanning bed can be detrimental to your skin. UV rays are much stronger in the summer months than in the winter months. Almost 1/3 of the suns UV rays come down between the daytime hours of 11 a.m.–1 p.m. The altitude plays a role in UV exposure as well, the higher the altitude the more exposure to UV rays from the sun. UV rays can also bounce off of reflective surfaces such as water and even certain types of clouds, increasing your exposure even on an overcast day. Certain types of medications can also make someone more sensitive to UV radiation.
Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain types of skin cells. The main cause of melanoma is excessive or long-term exposure to UV radiation. Other types of skin cancers that can occur from UV exposure are typically grouped as non-melanoma types. Excess sun exposure can also cause premature aging of the skin, eye problems such as cataracts, and can weaken your immune system making it more difficult to battle infections. It is important to know what you can do to prevent the occurrence of these problems for yourself and for your family.
Prevention is key in avoiding excessive UV radiation. So, what can you do to make sure that you can enjoy the outdoors in the summer time and maintain skin health? Shade is wonderful! If you’re not sitting under a tree or outdoor shelter, wear a hat and sunglasses. Bring an umbrella to outdoor events or the beach. Always wear sunscreen when planning a day outside. The higher the SPF, the more protection you will have. Young children should wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Remember to reapply every couple of hours and right after swimming or other water activities. The earlier you start these good habits, the lower your chances will be in developing skin cancers from sun exposure.
Good Samaritan Society – Services@Home provides care such as housekeeping, medication reminders, preparing meals, grocery shopping, and assisting with other needs to help people remain independent at home. To learn more about Good Samaritan Society – Services@Home, please call 844-359-4446 or visit our website at www.good-sam.com/quadcityhome.
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