Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 1 : Summer 2009 - Page 48

healthy you: Have Sun Sense! by Kim Jones, cary medical center Ah, summer… Swimming on a hot afternoon Lounging on the deck with a good book Watching a Little League game Hosting a BBQ for family and friends Working in the garden There’s nearly an endless number of ways to have fun on a sunny afternoon; many of which offer excellent health benefits. But Cary Medical Center’s Healthy You team wants to remind you that safely enjoying outside activities includes a good dose of sun sense. Sun exposure is a significant risk factor in the development of skin cancer, the most common form of human cancer. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize your risks: Don’t be fooled by clouds. The sun can be damaging even on a cool or overcast day. Clouds do not filter out harmful UV rays, so it’s possible to get a sunburn even when you don’t feel the sun’s heat. (You can even get a sunburn in the winter!) Slather on the sunscreen. For optimum protection, choose products that have an SPF of 30 or more and that are labeled for broad-spectrum protection (blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays). Apply the lotion 30 minutes before going outside and then again every two to three hours spent in the sun. Avoid prolonged exposure when the sun is at its strongest. In the northern hemisphere,