Summertime is a great time to take your long-term care residents on day trips to the lake, pool, park, or even the beach. Before you kick off any fun in the sun activities this summer, don’t forget to lather everyone up with sunscreen. All it takes is 15 minutes of being exposed to sunlight for the ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. While you can’t see UV rays–which are invisible–your skin can certainly be exposed to the radiation from the sun causing damage to your skin cells.
If you’re outside on a hot summer day but it’s cloudy or overcast, don’t be fooled; UV rays can still reach you. In fact, clouds can only block out about 20% of the sun's UV rays. That means that 80% of those harmful rays are still getting through, putting you at risk for skin damage.
Always Apply Sunscreen
One of the best ways to take care of yourself (and your residents) this summer is to apply sunscreen often. It helps to protect the skin from damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. Too much UV exposure can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and sunspots, and it can increase the risk of skin cancer.
- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and applying it 15 minutes before going out into the sun.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.
- For optimal protection, it is important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
- SPFs with higher numbers block slightly more of the sun's UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun's UVB rays.
- Sunscreen does expire so be sure to always check the expiration date and look for changes in the sunscreen’s consistency and color as other signs of expiration.
By taking these precautions, you can help to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. While you should always apply sunscreen when you’re outdoors, UV rays tend to be the strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sunscreen and smart sun safety are so important in preventing skin cancer. We want to make sure our residents, and our agency partners, stay safe this summer while enjoying all that summer has to offer.
Contact Hudson Regional LTC Pharmacy
If our team can be of assistance for your long-term care pharmacy needs, please reach out to us at 845-341-2714 and we will be happy to help you.