We hope your Fourth of July celebration went off without a hitch! No traffic tickets, no sunburn, no fireworks injuries, and or other obstacles in the way of slowing you down to get back to work today, hopefully. This time of the year is the greatest time for us to enjoy our freedom and show our support for our troops. As you go through the rest of the summer, keep them in mind and let’s hope they are all back to help us celebrate in the near future. One thing to remember: it’s even hotter where they are than where we are!
July is UV Safety Month, sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of skin cancer, and can also damage your eyes. This is a good time to send the message of safety during sun and fun times. Those who work in the sun also need to be warned about the damage that UV rays can cause, in order to take precautions to avoid these types of health problems.
The highest risk for getting skin cancer seems to be for those who have:
- Blond or red hair;
- Blue or green eyes;
- White or light-colored skin with freckles.
Those people especially, but let’s include everyone else to take these steps to prevent skin cancer:
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. if possible;
- Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Use sunscreen that has UVA and UVB protection – “broad spectrum” sunscreen.
- Cover up with long sleeves and a hat;
- Check your skin regularly for any changes.
UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotchy skin. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Tanning indoors is not safe, either. According to Dr. Carol Cola, who works in the Department of Surgery at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, around 90 per cent of skin cancers appear on the neck, head, ears, lips, or hands – areas that are most often exposed to the sun. Sunburn can happen anywhere – driving a car, through a glass window, or reflections off concrete, sand, or snow.
To do a self-examination for skin cancer, simply watch for any changes in size or color of freckles, moles, or birthmarks. If you notice anything different, see your physician or dermatologist. Recent studies by the Skin Cancer Foundation state that studies have recently indicated that only 23 per cent of damage from UV exposure happens to most young people by the age of 18 – not the 80 per cent that was formerly thought to be. This shows that there is benefit to be gained for persons of any age, to protect themselves from damaging rays. It still is important that we use sunscreen on our children and sunshades that will protect their eyes.
UVA and UVB rays can hurt your eyes. This type of radiation can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and some cancers. The use of proper types of sunshades can help prevent this from happening. It’s always been “cool” to wear sunshades, just be sure you purchase polarized ones that protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
Everyone at work in should get involved in spreading the message that damage from the sun can be very harmful, even deadly! Posters need to be placed right by the doors before workers step out into that hot sun. Companies could ask a health professional to demonstrate how to check skin regularly for skin-cancer warning signs. A local dermatologist, registered nurse, or public health official would be happy to help educate your employees about the dangers of skin cancer. Place a memo in their paychecks to remind them to do all they can to protect their skin and eyes from radiation from the sun.
We hope this will serve as a reminder to all of you to try to stay as cool as possible this summer – it is already a scorcher! There are many products that can help protect you, so take advantage of them.