NH DHHS Recognizes Don’t Fry Day to Encourage Everyone to Practice Sun Safety

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is recognizing May 27th as Don’t Fry Day, as designated by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. The aim of Don’t Fry Day is to encourage people to practice sun safety to help prevent skin cancer.

Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States and New Hampshire. It is estimated that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 68,000 cases of malignant melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) and more than 2,000,000 cases of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer (nonmelanoma) were diagnosed in 2010 in the U.S. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

“The arrival of the summer season means many outdoor activities, such as swimming, picnics, and boating,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “We don’t want to discourage people from enjoying New Hampshire’s wonderful outdoors, but we urge people to take some common sense safety precautions to protect their skin.”

There are many ways to protect your skin from burning and overexposure to UV radiation, including: Seek the shade when you can. Use umbrellas or other shade structures when outdoors. Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and that may not be the hottest part of the day.

Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays. Dark clothes offer more protection than lighter-colored clothes.

Generously apply sunblock—SPF 15 or higher that blocks UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Check the expiration dates on sunblocks; for lotions without dates there is a shelf life of not more than three years or less if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Many prescription drugs can make people more susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun. Always check with your doctor about this issue.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, recommends banning commercial indoor tanning for those younger than 18 years of age to protect them from the increased risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. Use of tanning devices before the age of 30 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.

You can find out the UV Index forecast for your area by: zip code at EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html or by signing up to receive email alerts by going to https://enviroflash.epa.gov  

For more information on prevention, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention at www.skincancerprevention.org  To find out more about Don’t Fry Day, go to http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/dfdpledge.html