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Too Hot to Handle: The Sunburn Reality

When the sun comes out, it's time to head outdoors. But, as we all know, too much sun can be a bad thing. This is the reason our parents have been slathering us up with sunscreen since we were babies. Do you know some of the serious dangers from spending a long time under those rays? Check out some of the hazards and a few tips to avoid them.

Ultraviolet Rays and the Ozone Layer

The ozone layer soaks up most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but how much depends on the time of year and the weather. Thanks to chemicals that aren't environmentally friendly (such as chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, AKA CFCs), the ozone has thinned in certain areas. In fact, over Antarctica there's a hole three times the size of Australia! Does this mean more UV rays are making it down to earth? Yes, but if we keep doing our part, the ozone will gradually rebuild itself.

Get the scoop on sunburns!Get the scoop on sunburns!

Health Effects from Sunburn and Ultraviolet Rays

Young people often spend more time outside than adults, but peeps under the age of 18 are at the greatest risk for sunburn. What some people might not be aware of is that too much sun can cause, not only skin cancer, but several other serious afflictions. Here's a list:

  • Melanoma Skin Cancer - This is the most serious form of skin cancer. It's also one of the fastest growing types of cancer in the US, with one in 87 people developing it each year. That's an increase of 1,800 per cent since the 1930s! Scientists believe there might be a link between childhood sunburns and developing melanoma later on in life. If it's caught in time, it is almost curable. However, it can spread very quickly.
  • Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer - This kind of skin cancer is rarely fatal, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked. If left untreated, nonmelanoma skin cancer can cause major health problems. The two types of nonmelanoma skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinomas, which are fleshy non-spreading nodules or bumps, and Squamous Cell Carcinomas, which are rapid growth tumors that can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Actinic Keratoses - Skin growths that happen on areas exposed to the sun. The face, hands, forearms and part of the neck are perfect candidates for this. If left untreated, they can be serious.
  • Premature Aging of the Skin - Longtime exposure to the sun causes the skin to become thick, wrinkled and leathery. Because it happens over the years, there's not much anyone can do. With proper protection, like wearing sunscreen, this condition can be avoided.
  • Cataracts and Other Eye Damage - What some people might not be aware of is the serious damage the sun can do to their eyes. If cataracts (a condition that causes cloudy vision) aren't treated, they can cause blindness. Other eye damage includes tissue growth on the white of the eye that can block vision, skin cancer around the eyes, and retinal damage.
  • Immune Suppression - Sunburns can alter your immune system. Regardless of skin type, if you keep soaking up those UV rays, your immune system can be damaged. After you've been in the sun, your White blood cells (these are the guys that fight disease) can take up to 24 hours to start doing their job properly again.

How to Protect Yourself from Sunburn and Ultraviolet Rays

  • Limit your time in the sun. The UV rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM, but this doesn't mean you can get out of mowing the lawn.
  • Wearing sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection helps prevent cataracts and other eye damage. When you're buying your shades, check the label.
  • Wear a hat, especially one with a wide brim. This might not always be the fashion trend of the season, but it will prevent you from looking like beef jerky in 20 years.
  • ALWAYS use sunscreen. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, though you can find sunscreens with a much higher SPF. Reapply more every two hours. That includes the waterproof stuff cuz it comes off with sweat or when you towel dry yourself. Don't forget to wear lip balm that has a SPF of 15.
  • Did you know you can still burn on a cloudy day?
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Poll sun1

How Much Time Do You Spend Outdoors?

  • None - I keep it cool inside.
  • Half the day I'm inside, half the day I'm outside.
  • I spend most of the day outside.
  • 24/7, baby!

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

Wonderfulcalico
My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
reply 2 days
Error101
Error101 posted in Family Issues:
Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
reply 4 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 6 days
Tennis123
why are you allowing that to control your happiness? why can't you have true happiness instead of chasing some dream for momentary satisfaction? You're 12. This is when your core beliefs, values, and outlooks on life start. Don't mess it up choosing to be sad over something like that.
reply 7 days