Risks of Summer Fun in the Sun

Risks of Summer Fun in the Sun

June 04, 2020

I do not know about your neighborhoods, but mine is filled with kids playing outside for what seems like all day. Playing in the park, riding bikes and scooters, drawing art on the sidewalks, kids just being kids. Moms and Dads, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles all walking the neighborhood out getting fresh air from being closed indoors for so long. It is like everyone wants to be outside now. It is a natural offshoot of COVID-19 and social distancing, there is no school and no place to go. So, as we start to see the move from strict COVID-19 restriction on social gathering, to more business and local favorite hot spots opening for fun and sun, we need to remember how to protect those who need it most.

Just as with COVID-19, elderly and children are more susceptible to skin damage caused by the sun. In the elderly it can cause an issue with Skin Cancer to flare up or begin. In children it can cause severe sunburns with can lead to skin damage, which can sow the seed Skin Cancer in their future. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (September 13, 2018), “Individual with skin types I and II face the highest risk of developing skin cancer, while types V and VI are the lowest risk. That is because those with more pigmentation have more natural protection. However, people with darker skin can still get skin cancer.”  There are many other factors related to skin cancer, such as:

  1. Sun Exposure (obviously)
  2. Weakened or suppressed immune system
  3. Fair Skin (as stated earlier)
  4. Race/Ethnicity
  5. Precancerous skin conditions
  6. Gender
  7. Age
  8. History of Sunburn/fragile skin
  9. Previous skin cancer
  10. Inherited syndromes
  11. Arsenic Exposure
  12. Medications
  13. Previous treatment with radiation therapy
  14. MCV and HPV

As for me, I can pick a multitude of items listed above that put me at risk.

Be aware of the time you and your children are spending in the sun. As I learned on my first trip to Hawaii, the Sun is not just dangerous, it is also sneaky. Spending time in the water you are not aware of how bad your skin is getting burned. Overcast days you forget are just as harsh as sunny days. Severe sunburns can cause your skin to blister and sting like nothing you have ever felt. Prompting a trip to the ER for treatment you cannot imagine. All of which I can give firsthand account, so think about how long you are spending in the sun.

So, what do we do as we are all spending more time outdoors to relieve our monotony? What can we do to combat the chances of us, and our children being exposed to skin cancer?

  1. Seek the shade, especially from 10am to 4pm
    1. Set up shade covering for the kids and you to get under periodically
    2. Pick a spot in the shade of a tree to set up your chairs
    3. Call the kids inside for lunch and snacks
    4. Mandate pool and swimming breaks out of the sun
  2. Do not get sunburned, avoid tanning (booth as well)
    1. Need I say more😊
  3. Cover up
    1. Long sleeve breathable shirts when out, especially when walking and hiking
    2. Wear a hat, like a broad-brimmed hat
    3. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses
  4. Use a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen
    1. Use one with and SPF of 15 or higher
    2. When doing water or extended outdoor active activities, look for water-resistant sunscreen to SPF of 30 or higher
  5. Apply 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of sunscreen
    1. Apple 30 minutes before going outside
    2. Follow up with reapplication every two hours or directly after swimming or activities that cause you to sweat excessively
  6. Keep your newborns out of the sun
    1. Use sunscreen on babies over age six months
  7. Examine your skin
    1. Do a head to toe check every month
  8. See a dermatologist
    1. Schedule a professional skin exam at least once a year (Health Insurance plans should cover these examinations; a copay or deductible may apply)

All these topics sound obvious, right? However, you would be surprised how often we get in a hurry, we lose track of time, or we simply forget the apparent when we are heading out for a Fun Family Day. Distraction abound, but if we take a moment to pause and remember what we think is clear; remember what I said earlier “the sun is dangerous, and sneaky.” Real sneaky! Each of us is susceptible to skin cancer, and different factors can push us to the head of that line. Our wonderful Sun is the leading cause of this type of cancer, so take precautions, make sure you and your children are doing all you can to avoid these risk factors. Pause and make sure before you leave the house for the Family Fun day, you are all  covered,contact Access West Insurance Service for all your insurance needs.

Then by all means head out and enjoy your day together or relax and watch the children play. The shade makes wonderful skin.