Health & Hospital News

It seems we’ve waited a long time for summer 2019 to arrive in Leadville! But as much as we love to see the sun, feel its warmth and recreate outside, we urge healthy precautions for your skin—the body’s largest organ—and its exposure to our intense sun at 10,000 feet.

The fact is, skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the US, with 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. Rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have risen by more than 700 percent in women 18-39 years old in the past few decades.

Higher altitude means increased risk of sun-induced skin damage, since ultraviolet radiation exposure increases with elevation. At our altitude, UV radiation may be 45 percent more intense than at sea level, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Here are some sun safety tips to protect you and your family this summer as you enjoy the outdoors:

Use a higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen at higher elevations. A recent study showed that SPF 100 was significantly more effective in protecting against sunburn than SPF 50 at higher elevations.

Apply sufficient sunscreen and apply frequently. Adults should expect to use about an ounce. Reapply every two hours and don’t forget the top of your ears, feet and head.

In addition to sunscreen, use physical protection such as sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Find shade when possible. And wear sunscreen even when you’re not officially “outside”. Remember, UV rays can find you as you’re driving or even working near a sunny window.

The healthcare providers and team at St. Vincent Hospital wish you a happy, healthy summer season!

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