Vermonters spending time in the sunshine this summer will find some handy help from sunscreen stations popping up at state parks and recreation areas.
Two state agencies have partnered with a national nonprofit public health group to help Vermonters get sun protection as they spend time outdoors this summer.
Craig Whipple, State Parks director for the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, said his department likes to encourage people to spend time outdoors in all seasons. “Using sunscreen is an important part of being able to safely enjoy outdoor activities,” Whipple said. “We want to make sure no one has to call it a day just because they ran out of sunscreen.”
The sunscreen stations are a joint effort by the Vermont Department of Health, Vermont State Parks and the national skin cancer education and prevention nonprofit organization IMPACT Melanoma.
The stations provide convenient access to SPF 30 sunscreen, and just their presence is meant to serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting against sun exposure.
While presented in the context of having fun, the main message is serious: “Most skin cancers can be prevented,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vermont has one of the highest rates of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
By guarding against sun exposure and avoiding indoor tanning booths, an individual’s chances of developing melanoma decrease dramatically, Levine said.
To protect against sun exposure, health officials recommend using sunscreen SPF 30 or higher; seeking out shade, especially midday; wearing hats, sunglasses, and beach cover-ups; taking care near sand and water which reflect the sun’s rays; and checking skin regularly for any changes that should be seen by a health care provider.
The sunscreen station locations are online at: healthvermont.gov/summer-safety-tips.
More information: healthvermont.gov/wellness/reports/cancer and impactmelanoma.org.