According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Scary, right? The good news is that it is the easiest to prevent. Many people have the notion that on cloudy days or in the winter months the use of sunscreen is not as important or the rays are not as harmful. We are here to tell you that is not the case!
The sun’s rays do NOT retreat in winter. In the Northern Hemisphere the atmosphere does block some of the rays and those rays tend to be further away in the winter months. But don’t let that fool you. If you are outside, you are still at risk for sun damage. And in some Southern parts the amount of UV radiation does not change much from winter to other seasons.
Higher altitude also means higher risk. UV rays are more intense and the thinner atmosphere does not block as many harmful rays. To make things worse snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays.
Throughout the year we encourage you to practice these guidelines to keep you and your loved ones safe from our sun’s harsh rays.
- Wear sunscreen EVERYDAY, 30+ SPF.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure & reapply every 2 hours.
- Cover up as much as possible with clothing.
- Wear 100% UV protection sunglasses that offer good coverage of the sides of your eyes.
- Try to stay out of the sun between 10am to 4pm, when rays are most intense.
Just one blistering sunburn increases your skin cancer risk and should be reported to your doctor. Five or more sunburns doubles your risk for Melanoma.
Enjoy the outdoors but me smart in doing so. Take these tips with you to protect your skin!
We dedicate this blog post to Andrew M. Potts, Occupational Therapist who lost his battle to Melanoma & is a cherished colleague of ours. Visit http://www.covellcare.com/team-a-m-p/ to learn more about Andrew and our efforts to continue his legacy.