Here’s some Sun Facts:

Coming up…. May 7th kicks off this year’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Designated by the American Academy of Dermatology, National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and Melanoma Monday were established to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer. Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer when detected early.

It is very important that everyone, especially children and young adults, use skin protection whenever they are exposed to the sun. Research has shown that multiple blistering during teenage years can cause cancer later in life. High risk individuals like those with light skin pigment or those that burn easily should be diligent when it comes to practicing sun safety.

The deadliest form of skin cancer is melanoma. Technically there is no cure for melanoma so early detection is crucial. Surgical removal of the melanoma and surrounding tissue is the standard initial treatment. Early-stage melanoma that is completely removed by this surgical process has a high rate of success with 98% of patients surviving beyond five years. However, if not detected early, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Advanced melanoma is treated with immunotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. This cancer is not very responsive to current treatments, so once the cancer has spread, the patient’s life expectancy diminishes rapidly.

Here are some things you can do to raise awareness about skin cancer:

  •  Encourage your family and friends to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, avoid UV tanning beds, and direct sun exposure between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  •  Talk with teachers in your area about instructing their students on the damages of UV radiation
  •  Partner with your referral groups to sponsor a skin cancer screening event.
  •  Include information about skin cancer awareness in your Social Media posts and your May newsletter

Educate on UV safety this July

Summer is officially here, bringing with it plenty of sunshine and opportunity for outdoor fun. It also offers a great opportunity to educate about sun safety.

July is UV Safety Month, an observance supported every July by the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy for Ophthalmology. Make plans to remind your community about the importance of protecting skin and eyes by applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats while spending time outdoors.

By raising awareness of the risks of sun damage and how they can be minimized, you’ll also be calling attention to your agency and its place as a health leader in your community. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • This is a slow time of year for most media outlets, so give them something to report on. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all cases in the United States? Partner with local dermatologists and organize a SPOT skin cancer screening event. A complete planning guide is available from the American Academy of Dermatology. Be sure to spread the word to local media well before the event. Offering to connect them with a skin cancer survivor before the event can help you get two stories out of the event — one before and one after. Don’t forget to make sure they know about your agency’s efforts to promote skin cancer awareness and help those who have the disease.
  • Use social media to spread the word about sun safety and healthy skin. Fill your Twitter and Facebook feeds with helpful messages on this topic all month long. Link to healthy skin resources.
  • Drop by all your local senior community groups this month with sunscreen or lip balm featuring your agency’s contact information. Hand these out along with copies of your marketing brochures. Give them to your referral sources, too. Call us at 866-232-6477 to learn more about available options.
  • Find lots of free skin cancer and sun safety materials from the American Academy of Dermatology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Download, print and spread the word.
  • Hydration is especially important during the summer. It not only will keep people healthy and feeling better, but will help keep skin from getting dry and scaly. Older people’s thinner skin and increased likelihood of certain health conditions leaves them more susceptible to this dryness. Print and distribute to your community dehydration flyers that also outline ways home care can help. 
  • Download the “What’s Your UV IQ?” quiz made available by the US Department of Health and Human Services Department's Federal Occupational Health division. Print and staple it to copies of your marketing brochures. Leave these in area physician waiting rooms. 

Summer is near. Let's focus on heat safety!

June 20 marks the Summer Solstice. Take advantage of the opportunity presented by the longest day of the year and the first day of summer to educate potential clients about sun safety and heat-related illnesses.

People age 65 and older are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses because they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Becoming a community advocate for senior heat safety is easy. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat Media Toolkit page to download and print copies of their informative brochure. Be sure to visit their page on Heat and the Elderly for more great tips. The Arizona Department of Health Services has another great toolkit focusing on heat safety and older adults.
  • Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and become an active participant in your community’s summer fan drive to help cool needy seniors and other vulnerable residents. Volunteer to spread the word about the effort and help collect the fans. If there’s no fan drive in your community, partner with your local fire department and collect fans to donate to seniors in your area.
  • Contact a local senior center and offer to host a class on heat safety and heart health — heart disease was the underlying cause of death in nearly 60 percent of heat-related deaths between 1999 and 2003. Distribute branded paper or battery-operated fans to attendees, and have plenty of cool, refreshing drinks on hand. Contact TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 for information about branded fans, cups, and other promotional products.
  • Contact your local newspaper and offer to write a guest editorial about summer heat safety for seniors. Simply write a letter to the editor expressing the same sentiment in short form if your guest editorial offer is declined.
  • Contact your local news stations, newspaper offices and radio stations and volunteer to connect them with a clinician who can speak about heat safety and the elderly or disabled for stories they may be working on about summertime heat.
  • Another danger of the summer sun is the sun’s damaging rays. Contact your local minor league ballpark concessions and co-sponsor (with a local dermatologist) an informational booth during the ball game about the importance of skin health and guarding against overexposure. Distribute small bottles of sunscreen or lip balm at event – contact TAG partners for more details on available options.

Plan for July: Independence and Prevention

There’s no mistaking that summer is here. It may be a quiet time when it comes to healthcare observances, but there still are plenty of ways you can keep your marketing efforts fresh and relevant.

We all celebrate the independence of our nation on July 4, but it’s also a great time to celebrate the independence seniors in your community are maintaining with the help of family, friends and agencies like yours. Here are some things you can do to reach out to this vibrant community.

  • Visit local senior centers and distribute Senior Fun Packs, which include playing cards and bingo cards personalized with your agency’s logo and contact information. This outreach out to those who are maintaining social activities such as senior center participation will pay off with enhanced awareness of your agency. Find the Senior Fun Packs at www.tagwebstore.com/seniorfunpack.php.
  • Experts agree that one of the best ways to maintain mental acuity (and prolong independence) is by completing puzzles. Connect with seniors and raise awareness of your agency with puzzle books personalized with your logo and contact information. Display them in referral source waiting rooms. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/puzzlebook.php.
  • Plan a Fourth of July-themed event to celebrate the independence of your community’s seniors that also will help prolong their independence and increase your referrals. In addition to a light luncheon featuring ice cream, hot dogs and other summer treats, provide informative booths and educate attendees about an important Medicare benefit they may not realize they have: The Annual Wellness Visit, which includes a review of medical history and risk factors, and a personalized prevention plan. Have a clinician on-hand to perform the annual exams. Find a kit to help you plan and execute the event here: www.tagwebstore.com/annual-wellness-visit-kit.php.

The summer sun greeting us every day is an important reminder about another important observance in July: UV Safety Month. Join the American Academy of Ophthalmology in raising awareness about the dangers posed by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. After all, it the cause of the most common type of cancer (skin cancer) and also contributes to wrinkles and other skin problems.

  • Spread the word about the importance of skin care by distributing skin care flyers at health fairs and farmers markets this July. Find the flyers at www.tagwebstore.com/health-care-flyers.php.
  • Distribute personalized hand fans at local bus shelters near shopping malls, grocery stores, senior centers and other areas with high senior traffic. The fans can help people cool down or block the sun’s rays. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/hand-fans.php.
  • Hydration plays an important role in skin health. Distribute personalized water bottles to your patients. It’s an item they will use again and again, and something they will keep long after discharge. Find them at www.tagwebstore.com/water-bottles.php.

July also is Eye Injury Prevention Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 27 percent of eye injuries are in those ages 46 and older. What’s more, falls in the home are a significant cause of these injuries. Educate seniors about the importance of preventing falls, which can prevent eye injuries, broken bones and a host of other problems.

  • Host a free class on fall prevention at a local library or senior center. Find a ready-made class atwww.tagwebstore.com/healthmatters-education-series.php.
  • Show physicians that you’re serious about keeping their patients safe with your comprehensive fall prevention efforts. Patient education guides show that you are empowering patients to take an active role in their care. Improve your outcomes in the process. Find the guides at www.tagwebstore.com/patient-education-guides.php.
  • Speaking of outcomes … Use your own outcome scores to demonstrate why your agency should be trusted to assist a patient at increased risk of a fall. Our Patient Outcomes Brochures for Physicians highlight the work you do to prevent client falls and include eye-catching graphs that display how your agency compares to the state and national averages. Use these along with our Patient Outcomes Brochures for Seniors, which provide useful information to potential clients about how you can help them prevent falls. Find both brochures at www.tagwebstore.com/patient-outcomes-physicians.php and www.tagwebstore.com/patient-outcomes-senior.php.