July Is Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month

Q: I just moved to Florida and my cousin told me that I should wear dark colored clothes to better protect my skin. I thought she was joking, but now I’m wondering, is there any truth to this?

A: Yes, your cousin is right. Generally speaking, darker colors protect your skin better from the sun, while lighter colors allow more sunlight to filter through.

Q : I love going to the beach in the summer with my family. What are some things we can do to protect ourselves from skin cancer?

A: Good question! There are a few main things you can do to stay sun-safe:         

#1  Wear sunscreen, and make sure it’s at least SPF 30 or higher.

#2  Wear a hat, one that covers your nose and ears.

#3  Wear protective clothing, and not just dark colors as mentioned above, but clothes that cover as much of your body as possible. It’s not easy to do when it’s hot out and you’re at the beach, but long-sleeve swimwear tops are a good place to start. 

#4  Wear sunglasses.

#5  For a long day at the beach, bring a beach umbrella. It’s a great place to take refuge from the sun and to reapply your sunscreen which you should do every couple of hours, and more often when you’re in and out of the water.

Q:  Is skin cancer very common?

A:  Yes. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer so put on your sunblock!

Q: Is melanoma the same as skin cancer? I hear the two used interchangeably and I’m confused.

A: Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It develops in your skin’s cells that produce melanin, your skin’s color. It’s considered the most dangerous kind of skin cancer because of its ability to spread rapidly.

Q: My father had skin cancer, does that make me more susceptible to getting it?

A: Yes, approximately 10% of people who are diagnosed with melanoma have a family member who has had it, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.  

Q: I look better with a tan, but hate the beach, so I go to a tanning bed. The place claims it’s completely safe; is this true?

A: No! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, tanning beds are not safer than the sun. To underscore the point, it only takes one tanning session to increase the risk of developing various kinds of skin cancer, including melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67% and basal cell carcinoma by 29%.   

Q: My wife and I are driving our children across country in July, do I need to put sunblock on the kids?

A: Yes. Unless you have sun-tinted windows, sunlight filters through a window and you need to take the same precautions that you would if the children are outside.  

This information is for educational purposes. Please consult your physician for any medical issues. For more information about VNA services, call 321-752-7550 or visit www.vnatc.com.