Summer Heat Tips
The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers understand that a great benefit of calling Southern Nevada home is enjoying outdoor activities all year long. With the arrival of summer, people are looking to get even more active outside with BBQs, time at the pool and hikes at Red Rock. With all of that outdoor fun, and summer’s more intense UV rays, it’s important to take simple precautions to keep your skin and your lungs safe.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and while precautions have been helpful in keeping Southern Nevadans safe from risks, the fact remains that melanoma rates have doubled nationally over the past three decades and much work needs to be done to encourage people to be more cautious with time spent in the sun to reduce skin cancer risk.
The good news is that being sun safe can be very simple by keeping the following information in mind:
- Sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher should be used whenever you’re out in the sun, and should be reapplied regularly at least every 30 minutes, even if you’re using an SPF of 100.
- Sunburns are not just some redness of the skin, but actually are burn that can permanently damage your skin so make sure to avoid them, but if you do get one, take time and treat it like the serious wound it is.
- Even if you’re in the shade, or in a care sunlight reflected off of sidewalks, pool decks, walls and windows can still burn you, so apply sunscreen to areas at risk even if you think you’re safe.
- Similar to being in the shade, being under clouds does not help prevent sunburns, as they don’t reduce UV rays. So even on cloudy days, prepare and take precautions as if you were under a full sun.
- Don’t forget to get enough sunscreen on your feet, lips, hands, and under any straps for items such as backpacks when hiking, as the sun will find even smallest opening of uncovered skin and burn it if exposure is long enough.
Comprehensive Urges You to Use Sunscreen
Sunscreen is always a focal point of Comprehensive’s sun safety education efforts, as we understand people want to be outside, and taking a few minutes to apply and reapply sunscreen is an easy way to reduce risks. Outdoor activities mean extended sun exposure and sunscreen is an essential tool in make that time in the sun as safe as possible.
What Type of Sunscreen Should I Use?
There are a variety of sunscreen options to choose from including lotions, creams, gels, ointments, sticks and sprays each with the following benefits:
- Sunscreens in lotion form are best for dry skin areas and the face.
- Gel-based sunscreens are more easily applied in places with lots of hair including the scalp.
- Sunscreen sticks are good to use around the eyes and for children who may not want to sit still for lotions or do not enjoy spray applications.
- Sprays can be helpful, but caution must be used in its application to make sure fumes are not inhaled and that the spray covers enough skin and with enough application to make a difference. And never apply spray sunscreens indoors.
For those with sensitive skin, there are brands that can be easier on the skin, these include one that are PABA-free, fragrance-free, as well as hypoallergenic sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are another option for sensitive skin.
One Application of Sunscreen in Likely Not Enough
Often applying sunscreen can feel like you’re putting on a thick coat of armor, which is partly true. But one must never lose sight of the fact that this armor wears off, washes off and loses efficacy more quickly than many believe. First of all, make sure to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going into the full sun. It takes that long to take effect. From there, be sure to reapply according the guidance on your sunscreen packaging (especially if you’re in the pool) and don’t forget your nose, ears, lips, and behind your legs. Yes, that can feel like an inconvenience, but a few minutes of prevention can prevent a burn that hurts for a few days, and can cause health problems in the future.
Just Be Careful When Outdoors
Finally, the team at Comprehensive reminds everyone to be careful when outdoors and in the hot sun. This holds true not only for sunburns, but also for the lungs of people with conditions like COPD. Don’t be out in the sun too long. Make sure to find shade. Drink plenty of water. And maybe most important of all, as you’re looking out for yourself, make sure to look out for others. Staying sun safe is a team effort.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with skin cancer including world-class clinical research and immunotherapy, as well as treatments for those with COPD or other lung disorders. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-952-3350.
The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.