Shedding some light on summer safety

As students get outside during summer’s last heat wave, it is more important than ever to be mindful of physical wellness and safe summer practices.

Sunscreen is an effective way to keep yourself safe during summer fun. Photo by Joshua Sperry.

Fun in the sun should be done safely. However, as summer has reached its final days, a relentless heat wave has scorched Utah and made this more difficult than ever.

According to information taken from the National Weather Service (NWS) and cited by U.S. News and World Report, “The … [NWS recently] recorded a high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius) at Salt Lake City International Airport. That’s the hottest September day recorded going back to 1874.”

In addition to this extreme heat, Utah has the highest incidence of melanoma (skin cancer) of any state in the US. From 2019 CDC data, it was found that Utah’s melanoma frequency of “43.4 out of 100,000 people” was the highest recorded, with the closest being Minnesota at “35.5 out of 100,000 people.” This information means that Utah poses an exceptionally dangerous skin cancer risk to its residents.

During these extremes, it is more important than ever to be mindful of our physical wellness and safe summer practices. Here are some tips, recommended by the CDC, for a safer summer:

·  Seek shade: “You can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter.”

·  Wear correct clothing: “When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If … this … isn’t practical, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up.”

·  Hat: “For the most (emphasis added) protection, wear a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.”

·  Sunglasses: “Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.”

·  Sunscreen: “Put on a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. … Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.”

Awareness of environmental dangers can help students more safely experience the Utah outdoors. As summer inches to a close but scorching temperatures remain, the application of safe summer practices can keep students and their loved ones safe.

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