Recently there was much media attention about a mother whose young children were overexposed to the sun while visiting a county fair. The good news is the children were not as severely sunburned as originally reported. This unfortunate incident creates a chance to repeat a critical lesson about the power and dangers of the sun.
As a dermatologist and president of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Division, I want to remind everyone about the importance of following sun-safety recommendations for children and adults.
We often hear about cancers such as breast, prostate, lung and colorectal. However, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and one of the most preventable. In fact, about 80 percent of skin cancers can be prevented by protecting skin from the sun's rays.
Protecting skin during childhood and adolescence is especially important in reducing the risk of getting skin cancer as adults. But sun-safety is important for people of all ages.
Some simple preventive steps while you are outside can greatly reduce the chance of developing sun burn or skin cancer.
First, try to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the ultraviolet (UV) rays are the most intense. Next, remember to wear the proper clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt and a hat with a broad brim. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Also make sure you wear sunglasses that absorb 99 percent to 100 percent of the UV light.
Furthermore, avoid tanning beds and sun lamps, since they can give off UV light that can increase the risk of skin cancer.
All people are a t risk for sunburn and skin cancer, regardless of their skin color. Everyone needs to protect skin and eyes from the sun. We can still enjoy the outdoors and have some fun in the sun if we remember to be sun-smart.
ROBERT T. BRODELL, MD
X The writer is president and chief medical spokesperson of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Division.