Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunscreen, Sunglasses and Safety!

REMINDER: If Dr. Tranetzki is listed with your insurance carrier as your child's primary care physician, you will need to contact them and choose another physician since she has now moved to Oregon. All physicians at PHA participate in the same insurance plans.

Jessica Pech, our new nurse practitioner, has started working at PHA this week! Welcome, Jessica!

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The DuPage County Medical Society reports that in a recent poll conducted by the Consumer Reports’ National Research Center, 27% of parents with children under 12 years of age said they rarely use sunscreen on their children when outside for 2 to 4 hours. 14% of parents said they do not use sunscreen on their kids if they are outside for more than 4 hours. This puts them at risk for skin cancer during their lifetime.

With over 1 million skin cancer cases diagnosed each year in the United States, it holds the #1 spot in types of cancer. There are two main types of skin cancer: basal and squamous cell but there are other types of skin cancer such as melanoma. 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer over the course of their life.

Skin cancer is caused by the Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by sunlight. UV rays can be both detrimental and beneficial for us. For example, it provides our daily requirement of Vitamin D and can be used in medicine to treat conditions such as psoriasis. But too much exposure can cause sunburn and skin cancer.

By age 18 approximately 22% of children have absorbed a lifetime’s worth of UV rays. Young women between 16 and 29 years of age are especially vulnerable to excess UV exposure by using tanning beds. For those who work outdoors or for sun worshippers, UV rays can age the skin, making it dry and leathery looking.

Skin cancer is so prevalent that seven presidents of the United States had bouts with pre-cancerous skin cells or skin cancer: George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Other famous people who had skin cancer are Anderson Cooper, John McCain, Regis Philbin, Troy Aikman, Laura Bush, Mr. T and Elizabeth Taylor. Even Dr. Wall has had a melanoma treated! No one is immune.

Lastly, UV rays can cause cataracts, temporary vision loss and lesions in the eye. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block out all UV rays. Wear sunglasses even on cloudy days and in winter as snow reflects up to 80% of UV rays. Both children and adults should wear sunglasses—but ones that protect for UV rays (not all do).

Take good care of your skin and eyes so they can last a lifetime!

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has eye safety tips available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/summer.cfm

The American Academy of Dermatology has skin safety ideas at: http://www.aad.org/public/sun/smart.html

The Skin Cancer Foundation provides statistical information on skin cancer at: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-facts/

For more information on skin cancer go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/skincancer.html or

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/skin


Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/superfox/1366809135/sizes/m/

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