The goal of the RAYS (Raising Awareness among Youth about Sun Safety) Project, a key component of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Program (NMDOH CCP), is to promote sun safety knowledge and behaviors to New Mexico’s elementary aged youth in grades kindergarten through five in order to reduce their risk for developing skin cancer. The RAYS Project aims to enhance knowledge and skills (both among students and adults) and change or promote changes in school and/or community policies related to sun safety. Following recommendations of the Community Guide to Preventive Services, the NMDOH CCP supports implementation of evidence-based sun safety educational curricula and strategies in elementary schools and community-based organizations across the state.
Here are some tips that all New Mexicans, adults and children alike, can use to protect themselves from the sun:
The sun’s rays are the strongest during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you must be outside during this time, bring your own shade along by taking an umbrella with youor wearing clothing that offers protection.
Wear protective clothing
Long sleeved shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat will offer good protection. Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB radiation.
Apply sunscreen generously
Select a sunscreen with a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that offers protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Remember that sunscreen use alone doesn’t offer protection from sun damage. It should be used in addition to other sun safety practices.
Avoid tanning beds
The level of UV radiation emitted from a tanning bed is many more times that of the sun. UV radiation from tanning beds is now a definite cause of skin cancer.