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Be a “Sun-Smart” Angler

In Minnesota, ice on the lakes has melted and fishing opener is quickly approaching. Many people will be spending the spring and summer in boats or on the shore trying to hook that “perfect catch.” While outside casting away, there is one danger that tends to go overlooked: your skin’s exposure to the sun.

While many people love to sit and bask in the sun (especially here in northern Minnesota where we have a limited number of warm, sunny days), the effects the sun will have on your body later in life can be detrimental. According to the National Farm Medicine Center of the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI, skin cancer affects one out of seven people in the United States. One serious sunburn can increase your risk of developing skin cancer by as much as 50%.

Sun graphic

If you spend a lot of time in the sun, if you have fair skin, or if you have a history of skin cancer in your family, you are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. However, you don’t need to spend your days inside for fear of the sun. Here are a few simple measures, recommended by the Marshfield Clinic, that you can follow to protect your skin and decrease your risk of developing skin cancer.

First, try to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the time of day when the sun’s rays are the strongest and will do the most damage, especially if you’re out on the water.

Second, wear the proper attire when you are in the sun. Tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and pants, hats with three-inch or greater brims, and sunglasses are all recommended when out on a sunny day.

Finally, always use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin about 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.

Remembering these three small but important steps can add years to your life. So, the next time you’re outside in search of a lunker, apply some sunscreen, throw on a pair of shades, and know that by doing this you can have many more summers to snag that “perfect catch.”

By Teri LeFaive
June 2000

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