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Physicians at Northwestern Memorial Offer Sun Safety Tips Just in Time for the Start of Summer
Date:6/24/2008

As temperatures escalate, so should awareness of how to play safely in the summer sun

CHICAGO, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With warmer weather, extended daylight hours, and a host of outdoor activities to enjoy everyday, the summer season beckons all comers to take advantage of more time under the sun. With the official start of summer having launched, experts at Northwestern Memorial Hospital warn against overexposure to the sun, which can lead to heat-related illness.

"Many people assume that applying sunscreen once in the morning is sufficient protection for the entire day," says Mary Martini, MD, Director of the Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma Clinic at Northwestern Memorial. "Sunscreen slows the effects of UV rays, but does not totally block them out. And, sunscreen's effectiveness breaks down with sweating and swimming."

Skin protection

Dr. Martini recommends that sunscreen be reapplied every two to four hours if outdoors for prolonged periods of time. As she explains, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major, and often underestimated, cause of skin damage. Sunburn is a common, and painful, signal of overexposure to UV rays. In fact, over 90 percent of all skin cancers, including tumorous growths such as basal cell carcinomas and melanomas, are associated with UV radiation. Sunscreen is a powerful, year-round safeguard against sun damage and is especially crucial during summer when more skin is exposed.

Following are recommendations of guidelines that can help when choosing and applying sunscreen:

-- For optimal results, identify broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens with a

sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

-- Those with allergies can try chemical-free sunscreens containing

titanium or zinc oxide for hypoallergenic protection.

-- It's advisable that children under 6-months-old be kept out of

direct sun -- period.

-- Sunscreens with a
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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