Tag Archives: skin cancer

Be Sun Safe: May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month

(GIF Credit:  https://giphy.com/gifs/qutisuYBaGfFC)

Sundress and shorts season has officially begun.  Are you protected?  According to the 2018 South Carolina Health Assessment, melanoma of skin (skin cancer) is the 5th leading cause of new cancer cases in the state (see below).

Skin Cancer Table

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with nearly 5 million people treated each year?  Skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and other sources such as tanning beds.  Anyone can get skin cancer, but it can be cured if found and treated early.  Talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual moles or changes to your skin.

Whether you are taking a trip to the beach or doing some much-needed gardening, it is important to protect your skin from the sun.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block UVA and UVB rays
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) or 15 or higher, and both UVA and UV protection
  • Avoid indoor tanning

Being in the sun does not have to be worrisome.  Just make sure you protect yourself. Visit the CDC for more fun safety tips and  follow their  hashtag #SunSafeSelfie for pictures of people all over the world who are taking action to protect themselves from the sun – and having fun while doing it!

Have a safe and fun-filled summer

The weather is heating up, children are fast moving toward the final days of school and visions of summer fun are dancing in the heads of families all across South Carolina. Have fun, but be careful.

While Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of cookout season and summer fun, significant health and safety hazards are lurking out there that can spoil a good time if we’re not safe.

Stay safe when swimming

Memorial weekend typically brings with it the openings of swimming pools and other outdoor water activities. Swimming in an ocean or pool is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family and it’s important to make sure everyone is equipped with sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful, burning ultraviolet (UV) rays. Practicing sun safety plays an important role in the prevention of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen if it wears off after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Protect yourself from insect bites

Sunscreen isn’t all you should arm yourself with: Use an insect repellent containing Deet to protect your family from insects while outdoors.  The repellent is safe and, when used as directed, is the best way to protect against mosquito bites, ticks and other biting insects; children and pregnant women should protect themselves also. The bite of insects such as mosquitoes can potentially do more than cause irritating itching; mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile and Zika.

Watch out for rip currents

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about rip currents or rip tides at the beach. Rip currents are responsible for many deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and can occur in any body of water that has breaking waves, not just the ocean. Currents at the beach can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. Be sure to check in with lifeguards, who can alert you to areas that have rip current potential.

Here are some more tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy at the beach or pool:

  • Always supervise children when in or around water.
  • Dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing if it is hot outside. Stay cool with cool showers or baths. Seek medical care immediately if anyone has symptoms of heat-related illness, including a headache, nausea, dizziness, heavy sweating, and an elevated body temperature.iStock_51595250_XXLARGE cute kids swim class
  • Stay hydrated. Your body loses fluids through sweat. Drink more water than usual — two to four cups of water every hour you are outside. Also, try to avoid alcohol intake to prevent dehydration.
  • Cover up. Clothing that covers your skin helps protect against UV rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Be aware of swim and water quality advisories and avoid swimming in those areas.
  • Do not enter the water with cuts, open sores or lesions; naturally-occurring bacteria in the water may cause infection.
  • Do not swim in or allow children to play in swashes of water or near storm water drainage pipes. These shallow pools are caused by runoff from paved surfaces and often contain much higher levels of bacteria and pollutants than the ocean. Permanent water quality advisories are indicated by signs in these areas.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during or immediately following rainfall. Heavy rain can wash bacteria and possibly harmful pollutants into the surf. To reduce the risk of illness, wait at least 12 hours after a heavy rain to resume swimming.
  • Be sure to check your local news and weather forecast for information on heat and beach advisories before planning any type of outdoor activities.

From Other Blogs: Sun safety, protect your vision, eating out with food allergies & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

5 Simple Sun Safety Strategies

Skin cancer can sometimes be deadly, and the treatment often leaves scars. Why take the risk? There are many ways to be sun safe. Find strategies that work for you and your family, so you can keep your skin healthy and still have fun! From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) The Topic is Cancer blog

Eight tips to help you protect your vision

From the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night, your eyes are working to bring you the world. In fact, your eyes deliver 80 percent of the information you take in every day, which is why it’s important to protect your vision.vision

Lisa Niven, OD, optometrist for Palmetto Health-USC Ophthalmology, believes you can take steps to help improve your eye health.  From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Going Out to Eat with Food Allergies

Rick, Lois, Angus, and Samantha visit a new restaurant to celebrate Rick’s birthday. They are excited to try the restaurant they’ve heard so much about. The host seats them and they start looking over their menus to decide what to order. Lois is allergic to peanuts, so she wonders about the ingredients in the eggrolls.

The server approaches the table to take their orders. Lois asks if the restaurant has an ingredient list for the egg rolls. The server says yes and brings the list. Lois sees that the eggrolls contain peanuts, but the salad doesn’t, so she decides to have the salad Food_Safety_iStock_000046432084_XXXLargeinstead. …

Before the restaurant opened last month, staff received training on food allergies including what to do if a customer has an allergic reaction. …

Food allergies are a growing public health issue—about 15 million Americans have food allergies. And food allergic reactions are responsible for about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150-200 deaths a year.  From the CDC’s Your Health Your Environment blog

Food Safety Tips during Ramadan

Ramadan is observed by more than 1 billion Muslims around the world. This holy month is a time of fasting and prayer for the followers of Islam, who abstain from food and drink each day from dawn until dusk. The end of Ramadan is marked with a celebration known as Eid al-Fitr, which stands for “breaking of the fast.” The celebration involves lavish dinners, which include delicacies and large dishes of lamb, chicken, omelets and salads.

During large celebrations, it’s important to ensure food safety measures are taken to avoid getting family and friends sick. From the US Department of Agriculture blog

2018 Predicted to be Challenging Wildfire Year

The USDA Forest Service is well prepared to respond to wildfires in what is currently forecast to be another challenging year. In 2018, the agency has more than 10,000 firefighters, 900 engines, and hundreds of aircraft available to manage wildfires in cooperation with federal, tribal, state, local, and volunteer partners.

Large parts of the western U.S. are predicted to have above-average potential for significant wildfire activity this year, according to the latest forecast released by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). The “National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook,” released May 1st, predicts above-average significant wildland fire potential in about a dozen Western states at various times between now and the end of August, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. From the USDA blog

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Did You Know?

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/default.html. From the CDC’s Your Health Your Environment blog

Practice sun safety to help avoid skin cancer

As enjoyable as it is to have fun in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin in the midst of that good time.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website that in order to lower your skin cancer risk, you should protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.

Here are some safety tips the CDC recommends:

Check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index before you spend time outdoors. Plan your sun protection accordingly, using these tips:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of UV rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with “broad spectrum protection” and a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

A few facts about skin cancer

  • The sun’s UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. That said, it can take as long as 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
  • It’s not about the temperature. Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection from UV rays.
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays.
  • Indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.
  • The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.

Visit the CDC website to find more information on skin cancer awareness.