Limiting sun exposure on the job

You might remember to wear sunscreen before heading out for a run or relaxing by the pool. But what about unprotected sun exposure at work? Health experts recommend wearing sunscreen every day, regardless of whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Cancer Center at Riverside Community Hospital provides high-tech, high-touch care for our neighbors in Riverside. Another important part of our mission is to raise awareness about the steps everyone can take to reduce their risk of cancer, including skin cancer.

Knowing the risks
Unprotected sun exposure is an occupational hazard. Over time, it can increase the risk of:

  • Skin cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Sunburn
  • Eye lesions and cancer

Outdoor workers are at the highest risk of prolonged sun exposure. These include road crews, house painters, gardeners and summer camp staff.

Indoor workers should know they aren’t immune to the harmful effects of ultraviolet exposure. Sunlight easily passes through windows and inflicts damage on the skin. This is why truck drivers are more susceptible to getting skin damage and cancer on the left ear or left side of the face.

Limiting sun exposure
Whenever possible, it’s advisable to stay indoors when the sun is strongest, which is generally between 10 am and four pm.

Before going outdoors, wear lightweight clothing that covers up as much of the skin as possible. Some clothing is labeled to provide extra protection from the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat—baseball caps don’t protect the back of the neck.

Protect your eyes from sun damage with sunglasses. Look for a pair labeled to offer broad-spectrum protection.

Wearing sunscreen
Similarly, choose broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Put on a liberal amount of sunscreen all over your exposed skin. Be sure to get these commonly missed areas:

  • Ears
  • Back of the neck
  • Top of the hands
  • Behind the knees
  • Scalp (If you aren’t bald, look for spray sunscreen)

Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply it every two hours or as directed by the product. Use a lip balm with SPF built in—it’s possible to get cancer on the lips.

Riverside Community Hospital is your family’s partner in health. You’ll find superior cancer care at our hospital in Riverside, along with responsive ER care for medical emergencies like dehydration, heatstroke and severe sunburn. You can speak with a registered nurse any time of the day or night by calling (951) 788-3463.

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