The summer is just around the corner, but before you rush out to the campus bookstore to sell your books back and plan to sleep in until 3pm, let’s talk about summer safety!
Part 1 of our 2 part series will cover two summer health tips!
1. Protect your skin
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer daily.1 Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of color. People with skin of color are prone to skin cancer in areas that aren’t commonly exposed to the sun such as palms of hands, soles of feet, the groin, inside the mouth, or even under their nails.1
Exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet (UV) light is a risk factor for all types of skin cancers. Even one episode of sunburn during childhood or adolescence can nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma.1
What can you do you about it?
- Use sunscreen products:
- When purchasing sunscreen products, look for the words “broad spectrum” which means the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays.2-3 UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are harder to block with sunscreen products.3 UVA rays suppresses the immune system, contributes to skin cancer, and can cause early skin aging.3
- The higher the SPF does NOT mean the better the protection. Getting a higher SPF exposes you to more chemicals and may provide a false sense of security. SPF 30 blocks nearly 97% of UVB rays, SPF 50 blocks about 98%, and SPF 100 blocks about 99%.2
- Use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Reapply the water resistant sunscreen every 2 hours or more often if swimming or sweating.
- Limit time in the sun, especially between 10am and 2pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.3
- Perform regular skin self-exams. Here’s a great video providing the steps in how to do so. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/step-by-step-self-examination
- It’s never too early to see a dermatologist for a skin exam. They can decide how often you will need to be examined based on individual risk factors, history sun exposure, and family history.3
2. Protect your eyes
We discussed how the sun’s rays are bad for our skin, but did you know they are just as bad for our eyes? UV rays, as well as blue light from our beloved electronics and LED lights, can damage the retina (processes light and sends signals to the brain for visual recognition).4
What can you do about it?
- Sunglasses are not only a great fashion accessory, but can help decrease the risk of developing cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision). Look for ones labeled “UV400” that can block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90% of visible light.4
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap.4
Stop by the Wellness Center to pick up a free pair of Mustang sunglasses!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Summer Health Tips series!
By: Sudin Thomas, MSN, FNP-BC
1American Academy of Dermatology. (2018). Skin Cancer. Retrieved on May 5, 2019 from https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer
2Environmental Working Group. (2019). What’s wrong with High SPF? Retrieved on May 5, 2019 from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/
3FDA U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2011). Questions and Answers: FDA announces new requirements for over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products marketed in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/understanding-over-counter-medicines/questions-and-answers-fda-announces-new-requirements-over-counter-otc-sunscreen-products-marketed-us#Q1_Why_is_FDA
4American Optometric Association. (2019). Adult vision: 19 to 40 years of age. Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/adult-vision-19-to-40-years-of-age