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June 2009: Finally it's Summer

             It’s summer!   June is the start of that outdoors-enticing season.  We all want to be outside now.  It’s the Great Outdoors Month!  And that can be fun.. but also hazardous if we aren’t aware of what to do to protect our skin from the elements.
            National Cancer Survivors Day is June 7th this year.  One of the cancers currently on the rise is all forms of skin cancer, with the most deadly being melanoma.  What can we do to prevent this among ourselves?  Sun screen – both applied as a cream and embedded in our hats and clothes – can do wonders to protect us so that we can still enjoy summer weather.  If you have a history (yourself or your family) of this cancer, you may have to consider wearing long sleeves and slacks instead of short- or no sleeves and shorts.  Confer with your physician, of course, to be safe.
            June 15th to the 21st is National Men’s Health Week.  Many men are not inclined to see their physician, even if they have one!  It’s up to all of us to get the men in our lives to do so.  Preventive screenings for colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and a number of other things men might be prone to as they age are not that costly nor painful.  These screenings save lives.
            Another key thing to our health in general – even as we think we are now in shape for summer activities, having spent the springtime getting there! – is SAFETY.  Please think about all forms of safety – from cycling (bike or motorcycle), to ladders (home repairs in better weather), to sports in general (wearing a helmet while biking, rollerblading, playing lacrosse, etc.) or to swimming (ocean, lake or pool).  June is both National Safety and Home Safety Month.  Don’t leave electric cords where you could trip over them.  Turn power off to your entire house if working on the electric power.  Ensure all smoke and CO2 detectors are working by replacing batteries. 
            The 14th of June is World Blood Donor Day.  Please do consider donating even if you have a common blood type.  There are some restrictions based on weight or general exposure to certain illnesses such as HIV, hepatitis or tuberculosis which will exclude some of us.  But please stop by when Downstate has a blood drive, or simply ask if you can donate.
The  27th of June is National HIV Testing Day.  Don’t put off this lifesaving test because if you think you’ve been exposed you can be helped if it is caught early – and you can and should help anyone with whom you have been if you think you may have exposed them to it.           
            What do we want from summer?  We want bright days outdoors.  We want to see our children or grandchildren and friends enjoying life.  We want to spread cheer because we feel invigorated before the days deeper in summer when humidity and heat are more extreme.  June brings joy!  Enjoy!