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Get Screened for Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early enough. An annual check-up with a dermatologist can help you stay on top of your skin's health. Click here to find a dermatologist by searching our online physician directory.

A Safer Season

Take advantage of these quick hints to keep your family healthy this summer

With summer in full swing, outdoor activities are fun for the whole family. Yet, it's also time to be smart about the season's Public Enemy No. 1—the sun—as well as other outdoor dangers. Play it safe this summer with these tips.

Sun Safety By the Numbers

When it comes to sun safety, Beth Adams, MD, a dermatologist with Northwest Community Healthcare Medical Group, says sunscreen is your best protection against the sun. "While it's impossible to protect yourself from the sun's rays completely, regular use of a broad spectrum sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer, melanoma and other skin conditions," she says.

In fact, broad spectrum sunscreen—which protects against the sun's UVA and UVB rays—isn't just for outdoors. "UVA rays penetrate through glass. Even if you're in your car, the sun's rays can damage your skin," she says.

1 Number of fluid ounces of sunscreen that should be applied before going outdoors.
2 Maximum number of hours that should pass before reapplying sunscreen. "Sunscreen is gone after two hours—sooner if you're swimming or sweating," Dr. Adams says.
15 Minimum sun protection factor (SPF) protection recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Dr. Adams recommends 30 SPF.
24 Number of hours it takes for the true extent of a sunburn to reveal itself.
30 Number of minutes that should pass between applying sunscreen and heading outdoors. "You want to give the sunscreen time to sink into your skin," Dr. Adams says.
80 Percentage of damaging sun exposure that occurs before age 18. While true, this 80/18 statistic doesn't give us a free pass from SPF protection as we age. "New research shows that you continue to accumulate sun damage throughout your life," Dr. Adams says.
100 Percentage of skin cancer cases that are curable if detected early.
365 Number of days of the year you should wear sunscreen.

Water Safety

Sun damage isn't the only danger lurking around swimming pools and lakes. More than 3,000 Americans drown annually. In fact, other than birth defects, drownings are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. Follow these water-safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Designate an adult to watch children playing in or around water.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Swim with a buddy.
  • Learn CPR. Northwest Community Hospital offers Infant/Child CPR and Safety classes. Visit our online events guide for the latest class listings.

Bugs and Plants

Nothing sends summer fun packing like itchy, sore skin from bug bites or plants. Follow these tips to avoid poisonous plants, stings, spider bites and mosquito bites.

  • Spray clothing or skin with repellents that contain 10 to 30 percent DEET. Make sure kids get below 10 percent DEET.
  • Walk in the center of trails and wear long pants to avoid brushing up against grass and brush.
  • Avoid unfamiliar shrubs, and remember the saying, "Leaves of three, let it be" to avoid poison oak and poison ivy.
  • If you're unsure about what poison ivy or oak looks like, search the web for "pictures of poison ivy" or "pictures of poison oak" before going near wooded areas.

Beth Adams, MD

Beth Adams, MD

Dermatologist at NCH

  • Board-Certified: Dermatology
  • Medical School: Northwestern University Medical School
  • Internship: North Shore University Health System
  • Residency: Henry Ford Hospital

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Last Updated 04/10/2009