Stay Safe in the Sun

Outdoor activity promotes wellness – and natural sunlight also boosts the body’s production of vitamin D, which protects bones and prevents certain diseases. Too much sun, however, damages skin and raises skin cancer risk. To enjoy the sunshine safely:

• Make sunscreen a habit. Generously apply sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), even on cloudy days and even when traveling by car. Reapply after swimming or sweating.
• Avoid tanning beds.
• Wear wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves.
• Seek shade between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
• Regularly check your skin, and that of your family, for changes or suspicious spots. If anything seems unusual, contact your physician.

For sunburn relief, apply a cool cloth, aloe vera gel squeezed from the plant or pure aloe products. Breaking sunburn blisters increases infection risk; instead, gently cover them with gauze if necessary. Ibuprofen or aspirin also ease pain (but do not give aspirin to children or teens).

Skin Cancer Check

Learning skin cancer self-exam techniques with a spouse or partner increases the likelihood of regular self-screenings, says a Northwestern University study. Couples can more effectively spot irregularities on a partner’s scalp, back and hard-to-see areas. Take photos to help note changes from one year to the next.

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