MedStar launches ‘National Safe Sun Week’ leading into Memorial Day weekend

Did you know more people bring snacks to the beach than bring sunscreen? And only one in four people surveyed knows that you should apply sunscreen every two hours!

Those are some of the findings a new survey from MedStar Health, a major health care provider in the D.C.-metro area. They surveyed 1,000 adults in the region as part of its newly launched “National Safe Sun Week.”

The results revealed MedStar still has a long way to go to educate people on best practices when it comes to enjoying the outdoors safe.

“Our goal with National Safe Sun Week is to help spread awareness around sun safety in the hopes that we see less sun damage and skin cancer patients, less heat illness, and more people living long, healthy lives free of preventable disease,” said Dr. Min Deng, a MedStar Health dermatologist.

They say people of all races and ethnicities can suffer sun damage, but they can also learn to safely exercise outdoors — and enjoy the beach.

“The sun’s damage and skin cancer affects people of all skin tones,” the MedStar report noted. “MedStar Health … will be spending the week educating those in their community on how to protect their skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays, reminding them to get their annual skin check, and providing warning signs and advice on how to avoid other sun-related risks such as heatstroke and dehydration and when it’s time to call the doctor.”

The health care conglomerate will host National Safe Sun Week every year during the week leading into Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to the findings about snacks and sunscreen, the survey also found that 59% of those asked plan to visit the beach five or more times this year.

Ocean City is the most popular destination among 37.5% of those surveyed. Virginia Beach was second at 21.8%. Other beaches people in our region cited as their favorite: Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Delaware Seashore State Park, Assateague Island, Sandy Point State Park and Deep Creek Lake.

As a way to help remind people to reapply sunscreen every two hours, MedStar said that planes take off from Bunting Field bound for Ocean City starting at 11 a.m. Friday.

“They do a circuit up the Delaware beaches that ends up being at two-hour intervals — the time to reapply your sunscreen. Weather permitting, of course – through Memorial Day,” MedStar spokeswoman Marianne Worley said.

The survey results also showed that 51% of people said “going to the beach” is their favorite summer activity. Sixty-one percent said they spend time in the sun for health reasons.  Almost 59% said they go to the beach to get a tan.

WTOP’s Glynis Kazanjian contributed to this story.

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

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