When school lets out and summer unofficially begins, outdoor time automatically spikes, especially for children. Along with an influx of fresh air, time spent outdoors exposes us to ultraviolet radiation (UV), the main cause of skin cancer. Although skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, it’s also highly preventable. This May, Any Baby Can wants to spread the word about early skin protection and cancer prevention strategies.
Whether you’re out for a day at the pool or just running errands around town, here are some great ways to reduce your exposure to harmful rays and help prevent skin cancer:
Wear Sunscreen. Terms like sun protection factor (SPF), broad-spectrum, and kid-friendly can make selecting a sunscreen seem complicated, but SPF 15 works fine for many people. Here’s the skinny: broad-spectrum SPFs protect against UVA and UVB rays; UVA rays can prematurely age skin, resulting in wrinkles and spots, while UVB rays burn skin. Overexposure to either ray can result in skin cancer. Check out this helpful guide to understand the impact of ultraviolet rays on your skin and how to select the right sunscreen for your family.
Don’t burn. Limit time in the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Overexposure is the most preventable cause of skin cancer according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. If you must be outside during this time, when the sun’s rays are strongest, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen.
Follow the shadow rule. The intensity of UV rays reflects the angle of the sun or altitude above the horizon. When your shadow is shorter than you, the intensity of UV rays is more likely to cause sunburn. Turn this into a fun activity with your kids so they know when it’s time to come inside.
Be aware of your surroundings. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Check the UV Index. The daily weather report and many weather apps offer the daily index, indicating when it is a good time to be outdoors and when indoor activities may be a safer bet.
Wear protective clothing. Although the Texas heat may discourage you from covering up too much, here are some tips that can help ward off the sun’s harmful rays:
• Loose fitting garments are ideal
• Darker colors may offer more protection than light-colored clothing
• Dry clothes provide better protection than wet ones
• A wide-brimmed hat shade is the best choice for protecting your head, face and neck
Check your skin regularly for changes. If you have concerns, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Your doctor can record any suspicious markings so they can be compared later to note any change.
May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Help Any Baby Can raise awareness and encourage families in Central Texas to practice sun safety by sharing this blog with your family, friends, and co-workers.
For more parenting tips and tricks, visit us at Any Baby Can or give us a call at 512.454.3743