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Skin Cancer Prevention

Boy sitting on beach with the words 'spring break' on his backTraveling for spring break? Don't forget to pack, protect yourself from the sun, and go!

Don't risk ruining your trip or your health with too much sun.

Using sun protection can prevent sunburn during your vacation and protect you against skin cancer later. Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the United States. Skin cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly. Fortunately, most cases are preventable, and as a traveler, you can use simple strategies to keep yourself and your family safe from the sun.

Why is sun protection important for your spring break travel plan?

Travelers spending time outdoors are exposed to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, even on cloudy days.

Travelers are at increased risk when traveling:

  • Near the equator.
  • During summer months (December–March in the Southern Hemisphere).
  • At high altitudes.

Reflection from the snow, sand, and water increases exposure, so consider sun safety during outdoor activities such as:

  • Skiing or other activities in the snow.
  • Spending time at the beach.
  • Swimming.
  • Sailing or other water activities.
Woman putting on sun tan lotion

Choose sun protection strategies that work.

What can spring break travelers do?

Enjoy safe travels and choose sun protection strategies that work.

Pack sun protection and bring:

  • Clothing to protect your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • A hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Remember that sunscreen is most effective when used in combination with other methods.

Protect yourself from the sun:

  • Wear sun protective gear such as sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing.
  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10 am to 4 pm). Try using an umbrella, cabana, or a tree for shade.
  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • If using insect repellent, apply sunscreen first, let it dry, and apply insect repellent on top of it.
  • Avoid tanning beds or sunbathing. Remember tanned skin is damaged skin. Trying to get a "base tan" is still damaging to your skin and does not provide enough protection against burning.

Enjoy safe travels!

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