What’s Your SPF?

Mine is 45. It’s always been 45. Reapplied every hour on the hour when I’m outside for an extended period of time. My friends think I’m overzealous. They say I should buy stock in Coppertone. They say I’d look healthier with a little color in my cheeks. All color in my cheeks ever got me was melanoma, I remind them as I reach for my soon-to-be empty bottle of sunscreen.
It feels a bit odd to be writing about sunscreen in the middle of winter, but I’ve just finished writing It’s All about the SPF on page XX. It’s a short article about teens and sun damage. And, as a 36-year-old woman who’s already experienced multiple forms of skin cancer, I can’t resist the opportunity to sing the praises of sunscreen and sun smarts.
According to the American Cancer Society’s Web site, “cancer of the skin (including melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer) is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for about half of all cancers.” That’s a lot of cancer. A lot of mostly preventable cancer. As a parent, you’re in the prevention business. Over the years, you’ll prevent falls and burns and head colds. You’ll prevent broken bones and broken hearts. And, if you teach your child to minimize sun exposure, you’ll prevent skin cancer.
I know the month of January isn’t the month with which you usually associate sunscreen and sun safety, but it is the month most commonly paired with the concepts of health and fitness. In the pages of Carolina Parent, we cover family health topics every month. But every year we pay particular attention to these important topics — children’s wellness, physical fitness, safety tips, women’s health and more — in our January issue.
In addition to the teen article I already mentioned, you’ll find article Carol McGarrahan’s helpful article, “Getting Kids to Eat Right,” on page 32. She interviewed local nutrition experts to gather our best-ever advice for parents who are trying to teach their kids to make healthy choices about eating.
We also take a look at the ways that prescription medications are — and in some cases are NOT — dispensed in public schools. Kathy Sena’s piece, “Rx for Safety,” on page 37 alerts parents to the potential for medication mismanagement and offers advice to minimize the risk.
A testament to the physically demanding work of motherhood, Sandra Gordon’s article, “Mom’s Healthy Body,” on page 35 offers practical tips that teach moms to bend and lift without causing damage or aching backs.
This issue is dedicated to the health of all Triangle families. We hope it makes a difference … because your family’s health and well-being is important to us. In January and throughout the year.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.