All year long, Western New Yorkers have one thing on our mind. I hear it time and time again as I sit down and talk to my patients on a daily basis.
“WHEN WILL SUMMER BE HERE?”
The first moment the sun shows up and we feel the warmth, albeit only 50 degrees and sunny, we let our skin show. Now as the summer days are long, and the sun is bright, we stay outdoors as long as we can. We are so grateful to finally have warmth on our bodies that we forget about sun safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provide wonderful reminders to keep our skin safe while still enjoying those warm and kind sun rays.
They remind us first and foremost that ultraviolet (UV) rays are part of sunlight that is an invisible type of radiation. UVA and UVB cause aging and damage to the skin cells and are the most dangerous and cancer-causing types of sun rays. We also know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The most common types of skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
In order to protect our patients and ourselves, there are several things we can do to minimize our risk of skin damage. They include regular and routine use of broad-spectrum SPF 15 or greater sunscreen even when in the shade. Remember to reapply if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Wear clothing made from tightly woven cloth with SPF protection when possible, stay in the shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses that preferably block UVA and UVB rays.
Lastly, if you do get too much sun, by accident of course, here are some simple tips to help your body recover: stay hydrated to prevent fluid loss, comfort skin burns with cool baths or clothes, take over-the-counter Tylenol or ibuprofen for fever or headaches, and remain out of the sun until you are feeling better.
Katherine Sumner, PA-C is accepting new patients at 1091 Main Street, Suite 301, Buffalo. For more information on health safety or if you are worried about damage to your skin, call our office at 716.248.1420 to schedule an appointment.