Now that school is out, the American Cancer Society wants to take the opportunity to remind Ohioans that while they are enjoying the great outdoors this summer, there are a few simple steps they can take to make sure they don’t pay the price later for over-exposure to harmful elements of the sun’s rays. While this message applies to everyone, children are especially at risk. A history of five or more severe sunburns during adolescence more than doubles the risk of melanoma, according to a study published in the April 29, 1999 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists also believe people may receive up to 80 percent of their life’s total exposure to UV light by the age of 18.
It’s important to shield your children’s skin from the damaging effects of the sun. No matter what they’re doing or even what time of year it is, if they’re outside, they need to be protected. Build safe sun habits into your family’s daily routine. Lead by example - children will respond better when they see you protecting your skin.
Parents can also teach children the American Cancer Society’s easy and fun “safe sun habits” - Slip! Slop! Slap!
Slip! on a shirt. Wear protective clothing when out in the sun.
Slop! on sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Slap! on a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears
Other hints include:
• Plan outdoor activities to avoid the midday sun.
• Wrap on sunglasses for total protection.
• Keep an extra bottle of sunscreen in the car.
• Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps, which use UV rays that can cause damage.
• Pack sunscreen in your child’s knapsack or gym bag.
For more information about skin or other forms of cancer, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.