If you read my monthly column, then by now you know how importance prevention is when it comes to managing your personal health. But health prevention is not just about the inside — making sure your body’s “engine” is running smoothly — it’s about the outside as well.
July was National Ultraviolet Safety Month, which focuses on the importance of protecting our eyes and skin from the effects of UV (ultraviolet) rays.
Did you know professional drivers report a higher rate of skin cancer than people in other professions? Or that 75% of melanoma (the most aggressive form of skin cancer) occurring on the left side of the body? Not coincidentally, the left side is subjected to the highest amount of UV rays when driving.
Here are three important facts from The New England Journal of Medicine that all drivers should know:
- Not all sides of your body are treated equally. While front windshields block an average of 96% of UV rays, side windows block as little as 44% of these rays. Since UVA light can penetrate through glass, and Americans drive on the right side of the road, our left sides are more at risk of developing skin cancer.
- When it comes to the SPF (sun protection factor) of a sunscreen, double the number does not always mean double the protection. Many may naturally believe that the highest SPF offers the highest level of protection from the sun.
- You should apply sunscreen every day — even when the sun isn’t visible. Although it may be cloudy, clouds are not magical, supernatural-like forces blocking the sun’s rays. In fact, clouds filter less than 25% of the UV rays that penetrate your skin and cause skin cancer.
In case you’re wondering, I’m writing this column from personal experience. After years of driving, I have three spots on the left side of my face that I must monitor on a regular basis. Please, I urge you to wear sunscreen protection.
Just as you take a look under your personal hood by visiting the doctor regularly and work to maintain your “engine” with a healthy diet and exercise, you should also be aware of your body’s largest organ, the skin.
Early biometric detection of skin cancer can protect your livelihood — and it could also save your life.
Known as The Trucker Trainer, Bob Perry has played a critical role in the paradigm shift of regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers to understand the driver health challenge. Perry can be reached at [email protected].
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.