by Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
Did you know the skin is the body’s largest organ? Our skin protects us from heat, sunlight, injury and infection – however, we often neglect making it a priority to protect our skin on a daily basis. Thankfully, July serves as UV (Ultraviolet) Safety Month and is a great reminder of why damage to our skin today can have serious long-term effects.
Safeguarding your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun is easy when you remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide by following these five tips:
- SLIP on a T-shirt: Wear clothing that will protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. Do not be fooled by cloudy days and winter months, as harmful UV rays are still present.
- SLOP on sunscreen: Generously apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed skin. Daily use of an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 or higher sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%. Don’t skip re-applying sunscreen every two hours, especially after sweating or swimming. Avoid sunburns, as they significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
- SLAP on a hat: Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- SEEK shade: Locating shade is especially important from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are their strongest. Also, use extra caution near reflective surfaces, like water, snow and sand that can reflect damaging rays. Use extra caution when at higher altitudes due to less atmosphere to absorb UV radiation.
- SLIDE on a pair of sunglasses: Protect your eyes. According to the CDC, some of the more common sun-related vision problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium (non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva that can obstruct vision), are caused by exposure to the sun. Use wrap-around style sunglasses with 99 or higher UV block.
These sun safety messages are an example of what we share with our Progressive Agriculture Safety Day participants. In 2019, Sun Safety reached more than 28,000 youth living on farms, on ranches or in rural communities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Safety Day events planned for the summer have been postponed or may happen virtually. Looking to make a safe investment? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 44321 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.