Memorial Day is coming up and you and your family are likely crafting a plan to enjoy the outdoors and what (we hope!) will be a sunny, wind-free weekend in northern Nevada. But one day we hope you’ll be recognizing before then is Don’t Fry Day, annually the Friday before Memorial Day. This year it’s May 27. It’s a day to remind you to protect your skin from sun damage and, of course, sunburn.
We’re in the thick of Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, so we’re guessing you’ve heard some of the statistics for skin cancer through multiple media sources. In case you haven’t, check this out: one in five Americans will have some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. So if you have a family of five, that’s one of you. Who’s it going to be?
Great news though. It doesn’t have to be any of you. Skin cancer is actually one of the most preventable cancers. Chances are you already practice a few of the prevention tactics with your children, such as putting on sunscreen or wearing a hat to block the sun. Combine all five tactics, what we like to call the Five S’s, and you could stack the chips in your favor when it comes to skin cancer. Here they are:
Slip on sun protective clothing. That’s a long-sleeve shirt and pants, perhaps a rash guard for your kids, or some of the newer UV protective clothing you can find at sporting goods stores like REI.
Slop on SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum sunscreen. Broad spectrum helps to block both UVA and UVB rays, both of which are damaging. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re in the water or sweating.
Slap on a hat. The wider the brim the better to protect your scalp, ears, neck, shoulders and nose.
Seek shade during the peak sunlight hours. Generally that’s 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you’re at the beach check out a good umbrella or small shade tent. In addition to blocking sun, they’ll really stake out your claim on the sand.
Slide on UV protective sunglasses. Did you know that you can even get melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in your eyes? You’re never too young to start wearing shades. And hey, they make you look cool too.
So this year kick off Memorial Day weekend early with Don’t Fry Day and teach your kids sun safety habits they can carry with them through life. It’s much easier than dealing with cancer.
Cari Herington is the single mom of tween twins that keep her on the move with their many extracurricular activities. Originally from the Bay Area, she’s been a Nevadan since 1992 and earned her MBA from University of Nevada, Reno. Cari currently serves as executive director of the Nevada Cancer Coalition, a nonprofit focused on cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, survivorship, and advocacy. She has built and led organizations and coalitions focused on protecting and improving the health of Nevadans for more than two decades.
This post was originally published on May 21, 2015, and was updated and re-posted on May 25, 2016.