The hottest days so far this summer have arrived, prompting a reminder from Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. She’s encouraging Iowans who are spending any time outdoors to use plenty of sunscreen. “We know that people who get burnt or have lots of sun exposure are at risk for quite a few health events that you don’t want, the worst being a kind of skin cancer called melanoma,” Quinlisk said.
Around 840 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are expected to be diagnosed in Iowa this year. Quinlisk advises applying sunscreen that’s SPF 15 or higher at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. If you’re also using bug spray, it should be added on top of sunscreen. “That makes sure the bug spray is on the outside and will repel the insects,” Quinlisk said. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours, according to Quinlisk.
The IDPH is partnering with the Iowa Cancer Consortium and other organizations to provide free sunscreen to RAGBRAI riders. The annual bicycle ride across the state started on Sunday in Rock Valley and ends this Saturday in Guttenberg.