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October: Sun Safety for Fall Break

Posted: October 1st, 2018

Before you take off on Fall Break, consider the following sun safety tips for driving. Millions of people obtain a large percentage of their sun exposure when they do not realize it—in their automobiles. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology recently conducted a study and discovered that about 53 percent of skin cancers in America occur on the left, or drivers’ side of the body. This is a warning if you are one of the over 207 million licensed drivers in the U.S.

“The increase in left-sided skin cancers may be from the UV (ultraviolet) exposure we get when driving a car,” said Susan T. Butler, MD, coauthor of the study. Butler’s team discovered that almost 83 percent of skin cancers were found on the patient’s necks and heads.

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It is estimated that one in five Americanswill develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. UV radiation from the sun reaches us as long-wave UVA and shortwave UVB rays but auto glass blocks only the UVB efficiently. Even though car windshields are specially coated to filter out UVA, the windows on the side and rear allow in over 62 percent of the sun’s UVA rays. An answer to this skin safety issue is installing Transparent Window Film which blocks out about 100 percent of both UVB and UVA without hampering visibility, and it can be purchased nationwide. Wearing sunscreen on the face, neck, scalp, and arms and reapplying every two hours is recommended as well. Always choose a broad-spectrum protection which protects against UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. It is recommended to wear a wide-brimmed hat if you have a convertible top or sunroof. Wearing long sleeve shirts is also an effective sun-protection option.

When you travel keep sunscreen, a hat, UV-blocking sunglasses in your vehicle, and you will have a sun-safe travel kit to help you safely reach your destination.