How to avoid getting skin cancer during the summer

4 min read

With summer here, it’s more important than ever to keep your health in check. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes increase during this time, so staying hydrated and eating the right food should be on everyone’s to-do list. Eva Nyarko, licensed family nurse practitioner, has spent over 19 years caring for patients of all ages, and she has important tips for people during this season of heat.

Nyarko spoke with rolling out about the essential needs for the summer and what people should be doing to stay cool.

What should people know to do during the summertime when it comes to health?

Summertime is a very great time to enjoy the outdoors but it also comes with precautions like having too much heat. We just had a heatwave that just came around so one of the things that in the Black community you want to pay attention to is getting hydrated. It’s very important to get hydrated. You want to also be very careful about staying in the sun too much. When you’re going in the sun, you want to make sure you put on your sunscreen. Hydration-wise, have a bottle of water, and you could put you know a fruit or vegetable in there like a cucumber, strawberry, or lemon. That’s something in there that will make the water a little bit flavorful for you and then you keep drinking it to get yourself hydrated.

How often should people be putting on sunscreen?

You don’t only have to use it when you go on vacation but you want to make sure that you’re using it any time you’re going outside of the house, especially during the summer season because you don’t want all those UV rays hitting your body, causing you to have skin cancer and stuff like that. You want to make sure that you’re putting it on. We do have the SPF 45 that you want to try and get and use on your skin as you get out of your house everyday.

It shouldn’t be only when you go on vacation because when you’re in your house, you go out in the sun, as well. Summertime is a great time and you want to enjoy the outdoor weather. You want to go out there and exercise so when you’re going out and having fun with your family and with your friends you want to make sure that everybody is putting on sunscreen before they go. At times in the Black community, we do have the notion that we do not need sunscreen. It’s a lie, we do need it.

What are the signs and symptoms we should look out for when being exposed to too much heat? 

With the Black community at times, what happens is that because we are darker in shade, you do not see that you could have sunburn. You want to ensure that you don’t have any areas of your body that were exposed that are too dark or if you’re a little bit lighter in skin that is too red. That means that you are having some sunburn, or maybe it’s peeling off. You want to look at those things when you come out of the sun in the evening. … You have to try and get out of the sun from time to time so that you’re not staying in the sun all day, or if you’re in the sun and whether it’s water, you want to make sure that you’re cooling off the body.

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