Sun Safety for You and Your Community

Sun Safety for You and Your Community

School’s out, and so is the sun, all day long. While outdoor activity is important for good health, too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Prevention is a crucial component of a culture of health. Preventing skin cancer requires protection from UV rays all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off surfaces like water, cement, and sand. There are many ways to protect yourself from the sun, and it’s important to use more than just one.

What You Can Do For Yourself.

Timing: In Mississippi, peak summer sun is usually from 10 AM to 5 PM. Avoid lengthy outdoor activities during this time, and ensure you have extra protection during these hours.

Shade: Shade from trees, umbrellas, tents, or shelters provides a lot of UV protection. Depending on the type of tree or fabric that creates the shade, this can be as effective as a weak or strong sunscreen. It’s important to use sunscreen even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing: While specialty clothing for sun protection does exist, all clothing provides some protection from the sun. Long sleeves and pants protect more than short, and dry clothing protects better than wet. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. Use cover-ups to protect yourself at the beach or when you frequently go from pool to poolside.

Hat: The wider the rim, the more protection a hat will offer. Hats, rather than caps, have the added benefit of also protecting your ears. If you’re wearing a cap, protect the back of your neck with clothing and/or sunscreen.

Sunglasses: Your eyes are vulnerable to the sun as well! Not only your eyeballs, but the sensitive skin around them. Sunglasses can help.

Sunscreen: Remember the sunscreen! Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen that filters out UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Put a thick layer on all exposed skin. Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options.

What You Can Do for Your Community

See which of these 19 Evidence-Based Cancer Control Programs (EBCCPs) are best for your community.

Two effective points of contact for sharing sun safety information are schools and workplaces.

For more information, visit the CDC page on sun safety.

To determine if your public health programs are evidence-based, HHS runs a program called The Community Guide. TheirWhat Works” fact sheets cover a wide variety of topics in public health, including skin cancer prevention.

If you know of someone out there who is working hard to make Mississippi a healthier place, let us know!