May 7 is Melanoma Monday and the official launch of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. To mark the day, the American Academy of Dermatology announces results of a first-of-its-kind survey, which identifies cities that take sun exposure and protection seriously and those that fail to make the grade despite repeated health warnings. The Rays: Your Grade survey, which polled adults in 32 U.S. metropolitan regions spanning 29 states, assigned rankings to cities based on residents answers to a range of questions testing their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors toward tanning and sun protection. Cities were then ranked based on the percentage of people scoring A and B grades. Only thirty-five percent of respondents scored above average, with grades A and B. To help more Americans Rays their grade, the Academy encourages people to take the following precautions: * Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays; * Seek shade whenever possible; * Avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest; * Follow the Shadow Rule if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s damaging rays are at their strongest and you are likely to sunburn; and * Avoid tanning beds. More about Dr. Arielle N.B. Kauvar: Arielle N.B. Kauvar, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine and maintains a private practice in New York City. Dr. Kauvar is chair of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Council on Communications, and also is past president of the Dermatologic Society of Greater New York. For additional information on the survey, the opportunity to gauge your sun smarts and information on how to prevent skin cancer, visit the Academy’s Web site at: http://www.aad.org
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