Fun in the Sun? Think about Sun Safety.

Jun 20, 2016 | Featured Provider, Health Highlights, News

As summer begins, it’s time to get out and enjoy the sunshine!  However, sun exposure can be dangerous, and we all need to be diligent about proper protection.   Unfortunately, a vast majority of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers come from damage caused by the sun, but there are many ways to protect ourselves from these complications.

Mother applying sun screen lotion on her child???‚¬?„?s body

Sunscreen is a very important method to protect our skin from dangerous UV rays.   Effective sunscreens, labeled as “broad spectrum” protect from both UVA and UVB rays.   Sunscreens are categorized based on their SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor.  These values range from 4 up to over 100, but the general consensus among experts is that an SPF sunscreen of 15-30 will do a sufficient job at protecting the skin from damaging UVB rays and that SPF higher than 50 doesn’t offer much additional benefit.   However, there is no downside or potential harm to using a higher SPF sunscreen, so it’s fine to use if that is what’s in the cabinet.

It is especially important for parents and caregivers to protect children from excess sun exposure and sunburns, and to teach them proper sun safety.   The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children less than six months of age be kept out of direct sun completely.   However, sunscreen can be applied in small amounts to exposed areas of the skin, especially on the face.  In children older than six months, sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas of the body, 15 minutes before going out in the sun, and should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if they are swimming.   Sunscreens containing zinc oxide are best for areas more susceptible to burning, including the cheeks, nose, and tops of ears.

In addition to sunscreen, protective, tight-weave clothes should be worn whenever possible when out in the sun.  It is possible to overheat, however, so clothing should be lightweight and light colored.   Hats with a brim are also advisable, to protect the top of the head, ears, and back of the neck.  Remember, “baseball hats” don’t offer any protection to the tops of the ears or the back of the neck!  Eyes are also sensitive to the UV rays from the sun, so sunglasses are recommended.  Children should have properly fitting sunglasses as well.

It is also best to sit under cover, and not in direct sunlight, whenever possible.  Trees provide great shade.  The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4 pm, so limiting time outside during these hours will lessen sun exposure as well.   It is also important to remember that the UV rays from the sun penetrate through clouds, so it is still possible to get burned on overcast, cloudy days.  If you’re going to be outside at all, it is best to protect yourself with sunscreen and clothing.

Make sure to stay hydrated as well – sweating and higher body temperatures lead to increased fluid loss, so it takes even more water to stay properly hydrated.   Remember, you are with your skin every day, so if you notice a mole or rash that looks abnormal, be sure to bring it to your doctor’s attention immediately.

Enjoy the beautiful NH summer, but protect your skin from problems in the future by wearing (and re-applying) sunscreen, keeping your skin covered with tight-weaved clothing, staying in the shade, wearing sunglasses, and drinking water.

The Skin Cancer Foundation and healthychildren.org have excellent tips.

Contributor:

Berry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Andrea Berry
Family Medicine, Mid-State Health Center

Mid-State Health Center has announced that its newest primary care office in Lincoln, New Hampshire is now open. The clinic, located at 6 South Mountain Drive will provide top-notch, convenient, and affordable primary care options to the local area.

“We are overjoyed to open our new primary care site in Lincoln and expand our services in the area. This new clinic affords us the opportunity to provide Mid-State’s high-quality primary care services in an area that has, in the past, had limited healthcare services,” said Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive Officer at Mid-State Health Center.

Mid-State Lincoln is accepting patients of all ages and will offer primary care services such as physical examinations, immunizations, and diagnoses and treatment of illness and injuries. The clinic also offers care coordination with other healthcare providers, prescribing medication, and management of chronic conditions, providing a healthcare home model for its patients.

The new clinic is open Monday through Friday, and business hours can be found online at midstatehealth.org. To make an appointment, please call 603-536-4000.

In addition, Mid-State will be hosting a community open house on Thursday, March 2nd from 4 PM to 6 PM where residents and businesses from the local community can tour the new office, meet members of the Mid-State team, learn how to become a new patient, and hear more about the services Mid-State Health Center offers.  A ribbon cutting will take place at 4:15 PM, however, community members are invited to stop by at any point during the event. Light refreshments will be served.

For questions about the open house, Samantha Hooper, Director of Marketing and Communication can be contacted via email at shooper@midstatehealth.org.