Staying safe in the sun: Don’t forget to check the UV Index
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the nation with 42 cases per 100,000 people, double the national average. That’s why doctors at Intermountain Medical Center said you need to protect yourself when headed outside.
Dr. Tawyna Bowles, Surgical Oncologist at Intermountain Medical Center, said the easiest way to ensure you and your kids are protected is to apply sunscreen every day and reapply every two hours.
“All of us can benefit from skin cancer protection no matter your age,” she said. “If you’re putting sunscreen on your child, remember to put it on yourself.”
Bowles also recommended checking the UV Index before you head outside. She said it gives a good indication of how much protection we need.
When the UV Index is seven or higher, Bowles said you are at higher risk of skin cancer and getting burned. That’s a good time to consider indoor activities or to stay in the shade.
“UV rays are at their highest from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day from about April to October,” Bowles said. “But, even with the low UV index, we need to get into the habit of protecting our skin.”
An easy way to check the UV Index is by opening your phone or KSL’s weather app to see the current UV Index for your location.
Amanda Karabatsos is a mother to four kids, ages 3 weeks old to 10 years old.
“I’m sure I’m like all moms that are trying to balance the summer with rest and making it magical – and magical means outside,” Karabatsos said.
She said her family lives a busy and active lifestyle, so they are outside a lot.
“Putting on sunscreen is just part of the routine now,” Karabatsos said. “I don’t know if they love it, but they know it’s part of the outside experience.”
Bowles said it’s important to wear a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and continue to use it even on cloudy days and in the winter months.
“The rays can be just as powerful in winter or through clouds as they are on a sunny summer day,” she said.
Bowles also stressed the importance of monitoring spots on our bodies and getting regular skin exams.
“If you notice that a spot has changed color, or grown over time, it’s important to get it checked by a skin professional,” Bowles added.
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