ATLANTA — Despite the fact that researchers have said vitamin D may help in the fight against COVID-19, sun safety is still important as we inch toward summer.
Channel 2 Anchor Wendy Corona talked to the doctor who heads prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Laura Makaroff wants people to know that no tan is a good tan.
Nearly 5 million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. While the vast majority of skin cancer diagnoses will be squamous or basal cell, which are both treated pretty easily, 1% of those will be diagnosed with melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin cancer.
"Overexposure to the sun is the biggest risk of getting exposed to UV rays," Makaroff said.
Makaroff said the danger increases as people hit beaches and pools for Memorial Day weekend. The reflective water and sand increase your UV ray exposure without you even knowing it. Makaroff said that even on overcast days, you still get UV rays. Peak sun hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you can't avoid the sun, there are things you need to do to avoid the danger that comes with UV rays.
"Reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours when you’re outside, and maybe more often if you’ve been sweating or in the water," Makaroff said.
On top of wearing sunscreen, she recommends wearing sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses and finding shade when you can.
The American Cancer Society recommends an annual skin exam and monthly check-ups.
One way to check your skin is with "ABCDE":
A. Check for any spots that are asymmetrical or on the larger side.
B. Check the borders of those spots. Irregular borders can be concerning.
C. Is the color changing
D. The diameter should be no larger than an eraser head.
E. Is the spot evolving or changing?
Makaroff said sunscreen needs to be at least SPF 30 and be generous with it.
"Most people apply about 25 to 50% of what you need to cover your whole body," Makaroff said.
Makaroff said you should use enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass each time you apply it to your body.
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