notes that with summer here, Americans will spend more time outdoors
enjoying the sunny weather. RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall, Director of Public
Information, states, "The Department recognizes the importance of outdoor
physical activity, but we encourage people to exercise precaution when
spending time in the sun in order to reduce their risk of developing skin
"One American dies every hour from Melanoma the deadliest form of skin
cancer. With more than one million cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year,
skin cancer is more common than all other major types of cancer combined,
adds Tucker-Marshall. "In some parts of the world, melanoma is increasing
at rates faster than any other cancer. Yet it's probably the most
preventable type of cancer since the vast majority of cases are simply due
to overexposure to the sun."
Of special concern to the Department staff is educating residents about
sun safety with children's health as the focus. Children spend a great deal
of time in the sun, getting an average of three times more exposure to the
sun's rays than adults. Since unprotected sun exposure early in life can be
life-threatening later, it is critical to form positive sun safety habits at
a young age. According to a recent study:
* More than half of an individual's lifetime exposure to UV (ultra
violet) rays occurs during childhood.
* If you have one or more blistering sunburns before the age of 18, you
will be twice as likely to develop melanoma later in life.
* And, 65-90% of melanomas are caused by sun exposure and UV rays.
With these disturbing statistics in mind; the Department staff offers
the following sun safety tips:
* Keep in mind the sun is strongest between 10am and 4pm.
* Always wear protective clothing when outdoors.
* Wear a wide brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses.
* Do not use tanning beds.
* Keep very young children (6 months or less) out of the sun.
* Sunscreens need to be applied liberally and evenly over all exposed
* Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher whenever outdoors and
* For children, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen
with an SPF of 30 or higher.
* And remember, stay in the shade whenever possible.
For more information on sun safety measures and skin cancer prevention,
call the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or 792-4011 (Henry) or 852-3115
(Stark) or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on
Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.