ADPH will assign Title 1 schools shade structures for play areas

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – As summer approaches and temperatures warm, many people will be spending more time outdoors in the intense rays of the sun. If you don’t protect yourself from these rays, it could mean problems in the future.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says about 20 percent of Americans will develop skin cancer at some point, so it warns of the dangers of overexposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

It starts with the smallest and youngest, who are also quite vulnerable.

“They play so much outside: at school, at home and often times you are more likely to be exposed to so much UV light that they develop later in adulthood,” says Lakita Hawes. .

Hawes is a public health educator with ADPH’s Division of Cancer Prevention.

“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,” she added.

The agency’s goal is to reduce the amount of sun exposure children receive to prevent the development of cancer.

Hawes says that if you take the time to tackle overexposure at a young age, you can potentially prevent skin cancer later on. This is the sole reason for their latest grant.

“A portion of that funding we’ve set aside to allocate up to four schools for shade structures so they can have permanent cover on their existing playground,” Hawes said.

Over the past few years, Hawes says 21 Title One schools have received a shade structure.

With summer fast approaching, she says now is the time to learn about sun safety.

In a press release, the ADPH gave the following advice to protect your skin this summer:

· The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, make sure it has both UVA and UVB protection.

· Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going out and don’t forget to apply it after swimming. · Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, head, ears and neck.

· Wear sunglasses designed to block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

· Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are most intense.

· Seek shade if possible.

Each shade structure grant is valued at a maximum of $15,000, which includes the cost of a shade structure and installation. The number of scholarships depends on the availability of funds each year. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 30, 2022.

You can find more information about the Shade Structure program here.

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