Our glorious summer sun is also hazardous

Also: Volunteering for health fairs benefits everyone.

As we joyfully bask in the extended daylight hours of the Land of the Midnight Sun this July, let’s not forget that this month is also UV Safety Month. We Alaskans cherish our unique summers but it’s crucial to remember that the risk of harmful UV radiation exposure is real and can increase, especially for those enjoying the outdoors or planning trips to sunnier locales.

Exposure to UV radiation, whether from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds, can cause significant health issues. It’s the leading cause of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Other harmful effects can include premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression.

Despite our cooler climate, the reflection of the sun’s rays off water, snow or ice can enhance UV radiation exposure, making it as important in Alaska as it is in sunnier states. The good news is that with a few precautionary measures, we can enjoy our summers while staying sun-safe. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective clothing, and limiting peak-hour sun exposure, are proven measures to shield you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Volunteering in the new health fair season

Now, as you protect yourself, consider extending that caring spirit toward your community. At Alaska Health Fair, our tireless volunteers, both medical and non-medical, have been the driving force behind our mission since 1980. Whether helping with registration, conducting screenings, or educating others on living a healthy life, these volunteers bring invaluable health services to Alaskans from all walks of life.

Did you know that volunteering could also be good for your health? Alongside the warm summer activities, the interaction with professionals from diverse fields during our health fairs exercises your mind, body and spirit. It promotes year-round health education and engagement, warding off the isolation that can sometimes accompany our dark fall and winter months. Moreover, the volunteer hours count toward annual renewals of nursing licenses, accrual hours for student scholarships, and other awards. Our health fairs serve as a venue to gather with old and new friends alike, creating meaningful and positive memories.

Are you ready to join us? Our fall health fair schedule and volunteer application will be available in the first week of August on our website, http://www.alaskahealthfair.org. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated.

Schedule your fall health Fair

For local community organizations, it’s not too late to schedule a fall health fair with Alaska Health Fair, Inc. Don’t miss the opportunity to bring affordable blood tests, free screenings, and vital health education to your community. Contact the Alaska Health Fair team at 907-278-0234 for Anchorage and statewide inquiries; 907-374-6853 for Fairbanks; or 907-723-5100 for Juneau and southeast Alaska.

Remember, taking care of your health is a year-round commitment, not just a summertime affair. Let’s greet the sun safely, serve our community, and together we can make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of our fellow Alaskans.

Have a wonderful summer season from the Alaska Health Fair Team.

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