As you head out for your Memorial Day weekend plans, make it a point to honor “Don’t Fry Day!”   Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention declares the Friday before Memorial Day, “Don’t Fry Day” to increase awareness on sun safety.  The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S. this year.

Follows these steps to protect yourself from overexposure to UV radiation*:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan – a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any point in life.
  • Seek Shade – especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is strongest. An extra rule of thumb is the “shadow rule.” If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s harmful UV radiation is stronger; if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing – clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection, so make the most of it with densely woven and bright-or dark-colored fabrics, which offer the best defense.
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen – apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand – Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Get Vitamin D Safely – Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun or indoor tanning.

Remember, prevention is the best way to treat skin cancer!  When in doubt, sunscreen or shade are both great options.  In the meantime enjoy a burn-free Memorial Day weekend.

*Information courteous of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention

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