Welcome to another  AFC Urgent Care Medical Minute

July is UV Awareness Month

Sunburn should not be taken lightly.

Melanoma ( skin cancer) is the most common cancer in the United States. Most  people don’t  know that.  The good news is that skin cancer is  preventable in most cases.

UV Prevention tips for protecting skin so that it looks healthy, young and stays as cancer free as possible:

1) Apply sunscreen. SPF factors are regulated by the government for UVB rays which are one of the two major types UVA and UVB sun radiation, UVB is not as strong as UVA, so when we protect ourselves from that we also going to protect ourselves from UVA radiation.That’s why we recommend broad spectrum sunscreens make sure that you  are using SPF 15 or greater and every SPF number is that much more  time you are allowed to be in the sun and not get burnt, so 15….. the dermatologist recommended strength and if you are a fair skinned person you might want to  reach for  the  30s or above. 50 seem to be the highest.  Re-application of sunscreen is also important if you sweat or if you are   doing an activity that makes you sweat realize that you are losing some of the sunscreen unless it’s a water proof or water resistant sunscreen

2)Wearing protective clothes,  hats, sunglasses.  The eyes are particularly sensitive to UV radiation and so protecting your eyes is very important. Check out polarized lenses because they actually prevent the UV radiation in the eye and protects your  vision as well.

3) Sun avoidance The sun is the strongest from 10am to 2pm,  so avoiding the sun in those hours is the best idea and if you have to be in the sun, now we are wearing the clothes, hats, sunglasses and the sunscreen mentioned above.

4) The sand reflects up to 15 to 20 percent of the sun’s rays, so it intensifies the UV rays off of the sand at the beach. Be especially careful there. Along those same lines, you may be thinking this is a summer issue. Not necessarily!

5) The snow also reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays which strengthens its powers, so if you’re a skiier, or spend a lot of time in the snow in winter it important to protect your skin then as well. Every thousand feet of altitude also increases the suns strength, so if you are going skiing  in Colorado,  Northern Vermont, Canada or the Alps, you are looking at a much stronger sun.

The effects of the sun on the skin are many. Sunburn is just the beginning. Wrinkling and premature aging as well as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma are the major types of skin cancer that we want to prevent.

For further information on sunburn or any other sun related problems, feel free to visit us at AFC Urgent Care in West Hartford or visit your primary care provider. Have fun and have a safe summer.