Oneida County Offers Sun Safety Tips to Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Time to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap for ‘Don’t Fry Day’

Oneida County officials are urging residents to enjoy the outdoors, but be safe in the sun as the Memorial Day weekend kicks off this Friday, which is also designated “National Don’t Fry Day.”

“As we finally get to enjoy the warmer weather and as residents head outdoors to relax and celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, it is important we protect ourselves from too much sun,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, but we can take steps ourselves to prevent it.”

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is on the rise nationally, and it is estimated that one individual dies every hour from skin cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if detected early and it can be prevented if certain sun safety measures are followed.

“Avoiding excessive and unprotected sun exposure should be a lifelong practice,” said Oneida County Health Director Phyllis Ellis, BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E. “We should be teaching our children sun safety methods just as we try to instill other every day safety and prevention measures.”

Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to Ultra Violet (UV) radiation. According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, those with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, but people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Individuals with moles or freckles, have a family history of skin cancer or have a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designates the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to raise sun safety awareness. For the best protection from harmful UV rays, officials are reminding residents to “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap!”

SLIP on a shirt or other sun-protective clothing.

SLOP on a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF30 or higher and reapply every two hours.

SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat.

WRAP on sunglasses to protect against cataracts, macular degeneration and skin cancer around the eyes.

Residents should be extra cautious near water and sand since they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, and should avoid indoor tanning.

To help educate area youth, the Oneida County Health Department and Jervis Public Library in Rome are hosting a sun safety event for Don’t Fry Day on May 24 at 3 p.m. to include a story and activity featuring the book “Pete the Cat at the Beach,” a UV bracelet making activity and UV-safe bucket hat giveaways.

Earlier this year, the County Executive and the Health Department announced the distribution of public sunscreen dispensers around the City of Sherrill to support the recently adopted Outdoor Worksite Sun Safety policy and an Outdoor Recreation Sun Safety policy that is underway. City of Sherrill outdoor employees will also be provided with UV safety information, as well as bucket hats and a temporary tent that blocks 99 percent of harmful UV rays to be used while performing outdoor projects.

Sherrill is a pilot for sun safety initiatives provided through the Health Department’s Cancer Prevention in Action Program. Cancer Prevention in Action is a New York State Department of Health program supporting local cancer prevention and risk reduction interventions throughout Oneida, Madison and Herkimer Counties.

For more tips on what you can do to be safe in the sun, visit: www.skincancerprevention.org.