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The summer means one thing: sun! And why not? After a long winter and a wet spring, it’s a wonderful feeling to throw open the windows and let the vitamin D roll in and rid us (and our homes) of seasonal cobwebs. Plain and simple, we live in a country that loves the sun. And there are many wonderful benefits associated with sun and fresh air, but our love of all things sunny isn’t entirely beneficial. Unfortunately, skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States.

The good news? It can be avoided. Here are 5 quick tips to stay safe in the summer sun:

1. Wear clothes that cover.

Though summer is the season for sleeveless shirts and swimming suits, it is important to cover up as much as possible when soaking in the rays. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats go a long way in adding a layer of protection from the harmful effects of the sun.

2. Keep sunglasses handy.

Sunglasses are a great accessory – no doubt about it – but they also serve an important purpose. They protect our eyes from ultraviolet rays, which can cause long-term damage. 20% of cataracts, for example, are the result of extended exposure to ultraviolet light.

3. Limit your time outdoors.

Go outside (certainly!) but avoid being out in direct ultraviolet light between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon (if possible) on sunny days. It is during these hours, and even more specifically between noon and 2 p.m., that the most harmful rays of the sun are most intense.

4. Apply sun screen faithfully.

Today’s sun screen formulations are better than ever (and they smell good, too!) Keep in mind a couple rules of thumb: apply sun screen at least 20 minutes before heading outside, and re-apply every 2 or 3 hours. If water is involved, apply more often and more generously. Unless directed otherwise by your doctor, use sun screens with an SPF higher than 15.

5. Take advantage of the shade.

It is possible to enjoy the positive effects of the great outdoors without sitting directly in the sun. Find a spot in the shade whenever you can and take in the sights and scents of summer without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Finally, pay attention to your skin! If anything looks or feels abnormal, don’t hesitate to say something to your doctor. If and when you ever have a spot that needs medical attention, the sooner you handle it, the better!

Here at Forest Hill, we love sunny days. Set on the Monterey Peninsula in Pacific Grove, it’s pretty much a requirement. Here, the outlook is always bright. Our full-service retirement community is like none other. Combining the classic and the modern, most of our community is housed in an elegantly renovated historic hotel located in a picturesque setting. Stop by for a visit to see breathtaking views of both the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the rich architectural features and beautiful landscaping. Come see why so many choose to call Forest Hill home when they retire in Monterey!

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