Don’t worry, we aren’t taking away anyone’s beloved French-fried treat! But we are hopefully bringing awareness to Don’t Fry Day this Friday and encouraging you to gather some of your own takeaways for safer sun practices! Don’t Fry Day is always the Friday (get it?) before Memorial Days, aka, the kick-off to summer! The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that almost 187,000 Americans are estimated to be diagnosed with melanoma this year alone! And what’s the leading cause of melanoma? Unsafe sun practices!

Due to such carelessness, nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer costing over 8 billion dollars! In an effort to decrease the rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to prompt every person to protect their skin while outdoors. There is not just one step that can fully protect you and your family from exposure to UV radiation, it is encouraged that you follow as many of the following tips as possible:
• Do Not Burn or Tan
• Seek Shade
• Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
• Generously Apply Sunscreen
• Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
• Get Vitamin D Safely

The skin is the body’s largest organ, making it all that more important that we protect it. It protects us against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Skin also helps us control our body temperature, and stores water, fat, and vitamin D. But those with skin cancer are also at risk of it spreading too, sometimes without them knowing and what’s worse, in some cases melanoma can even be fatal. This can sound really scary, but, most importantly it’s often preventable and/or treatable with a full recovery!

The first step is always prevention! The Don’t Fry Day campaign by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention suggests: “Remember to Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap when you’re outdoors — slip on a shirt, slop on broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap on sunglasses.” While it may have snowed last week, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t out in full force and summer is on its way! Everyone should be remembering these tips year-round and keeping a safe sun kit on hand with a lightweight shirt, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. in your car or even handy at work! There is nothing like being caught off guard and going to lunch to find out you will be sitting outside in the sun, or randomly being asked to go for a walk in the bright sunshine. In addition to prevention is checking your skin and seeing a healthcare professional who can check it too. Dermatologists are trained to watch skin, moles, and other areas for changes we may not notice with a blind eye. These visits are super quick and can literally be a lifesaver!
Living in the NEK we go through some really dark days, literally. We can forget just how much the sun can play a factor in our overall health and well-being. It’s more important than ever to empower ourselves and others to stay safe against these harmful rays and to protect our skin, the kids of our children, and any other vulnerable person in our care. Long gone are the days in the sun slathered in oil! You can now buy your tan right in a bottle and be tan year-round, no harmful rays needed! Let’s work hard to protect our health and that includes our skin too! As much as Memorial Day Weekend can be the kick-off to summer, let it be a reminder of the kick-off of safe sun season as well. Even one bad burn can have lasting health effects. Spread the word, do your research, make those skin check appointments, and enjoy the sun safely, here’s your “don’t fry-day, everyday reminder!”


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center