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School Nurses Encouraged to Help Sun Safety Efforts

An article in the June 2006 edition of the Journal of School Nursing discusses the importance of sun safety for school age children. According to the article, educational interventions are recommended that encourage the following: using sunscreen, wearing hats with wide brims and clothing that blocks or absorbs ultraviolet rays, using sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation, and seeking shade.

The article also discusses the role of school nurses in sun safety. A school nurse has an opportunity to affect the future of a populations risk of developing skin cancer, the article says, and is in a unique position to promote sun safety for all school-age children by getting involved in school policy setting, helping teachers incorporate sun-safe curricula, educating parents, and role-modeling sun-safe behaviors.

According to a literature review performed for the article, research suggests that teaching sun safety modules as part of a comprehensive school health education curriculum may be an effective measure to increase sun safety knowledge and practices. However, programs initiated at younger ages and taught with a consistent sun safety message through the years may be more successful in promoting behavior changes than programs initiated in middle school or later.

Research also suggests that educating parents about the importance of sun safety has a positive impact on the sun safety behaviors of their children.

The article reviews four specific sun safety interventions designed for use in schools: SunSafe, Together for Sun Safety, Sunny Days Health Ways and SunWise. The article also encourages the participation of school administrators and personnel in implementing activities to decrease sun exposure and increase skin cancer prevention.

Article Published: Boe K, Tillotson EA. Encouraging Sun Safety for Children and Adolescents. Journal of School Nursing. 2006;22(3):136-141

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Tanning Advertisements Frequent in High School Newspapers

A small study found that nearly half of high schools in the Denver area contained tanning advertisements in their newspapers.

 

The ultraviolet (UV) radiation used in tanning parlors is a classified carcinogen.  As tanning has become more popular among teen girls, the incidence of skin cancer has increased among young women.  The WHO recommends that individuals younger than age 18 not use UV tanning devices, but there is no restriction on advertising such devices to youth in the United States.

 

University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center researchers examined the frequency of tanning advertisements in 131 newspapers from 23 public high schools in three Colorado counties.

 

Tanning advertisements were found in newspapers from 48 percent of the schools.  Eighteen separate establishments placed the 40 tanning advertisements, 15 of which offered unlimited tanning for periods of up to four months.  Nearly half (19) of the ads mentioned discounts requiring student identification or labeled as prom specials, while two ads (5 percent) mentioned parental consent or accompaniment.

 

Article published: Arch Dermatol. 2006; 142: 460-462. 

 

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Four-day UV Index Forecasts Now Available

The UV Index page (http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html) on the SunWise website, has changed. Now the UV Index front page displays a 4-day contour UV Index forecast map for the entire United States.  The map identifies different UV Index levels with colored contours.

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