Friday, June 15, 2018

Five Myths on Sun Safety

Skin cancer affects more than one million people every year. It is a big deal, especially to farmers who have no choice, but to spend a majority of their time outside. I have a husband with red hair and incredibly fair, freckly skin, so sun safety is something I think about often. I just wish I could get him to think about it half as much as I do! Here are five of the most common myths I have heard him try to get past me.

Myth #1 - Skin cancer comes from the big burns.
Research has shown that skin cancer, in fact, comes from cumulative sun exposure. Sun safety measures should be practiced each and every time you are exposed to the sun.

Myth #2 - Applying sunscreen will protect me all day.
While a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is recommended, it only means you are protected from a reaction to the sun's effects 15 times longer than without the sunscreen. Make sure you are reapplying as directed on the bottle, and if you are sweating, check to see if the type you have is water-proof.

Myth #3 - My baseball cap is all the sun protection I need.
Unfortunately a baseball cap doesn't do a good job of shading vulnerable areas on the ears, temples, face and neck. Wide-brimmed hats are a better option when talking about sun safety.

Myth #4 - All sunglasses are created equal.
When you buy your glasses look for the tiny peel off label on one of the lenses. It should tell you the UV rating of the glasses. Look for a rating of 100.

Myth #5 - I only have to worry about sun protection on sunny days.
I live in Wisconsin. I can tell you some of my worst sun burns came on days I wasn't thinking about sun at all, like on a cloudy, snowy January day. Granted I usually only ended up with sunburn on my face, and maybe the backs of my hands depending on if the outside temperature allowed me to take off my gloves. Sun protection should be a consideration each and every day, cloudy or sunny.

What tips or tricks do you have for protecting yourself or those you love from the harmful effects of the sun? I would love to add them to my constant nagging reminders for my husband!

Source: Iowa State Extension, Remember Sun Safety in the Field

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