Don’t ‘Fry’ Over Memorial Day Weekend, Health Officials Warn

Officials warned that too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and cataracts.

Don’t ‘Fry’ Over Memorial Day Weekend, Health Officials Warn
Woman hand apply sunscreen on the beach

Health officials are warning people not to “fry,” but to protect their skin and eyes while enjoying the outdoors this Memorial Day weekend.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention announced that Friday marks the 16th annual “Don’t Fry Day,” a day meant to encourage people to protect themselves from the sun as the weather starts warming up over the long weekend. Officials warned that too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and cataracts.

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“Remember to protect your skin and eyes from UV rays before you go outdoors,” EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Joseph Goffman said in a press release announcing Fry Day. “Don’t Fry Day is a great annual reminder of the importance of sun safety.”

The EPA encouraged the public to use the agency’s UV Index app to see the UV forecast and read tips on how to be safe in the sun.

The EPA offered several catchy tips for people to protect themselves from the sun:

  • SLIP! on a long-sleeved shirt or other clothing that covers the skin
  • SLOP! on sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, reapplying every two hours (sooner if swimming)
  • SLAP! on a broad-brimmed hat that covers the back of the neck and the tips of the ears
  • WRAP! on a pair of sunglasses. There are some that wrap around the sides of the face, which provides more protection from the sun

Read More: Do You Need More Sunscreen When It’s Hot Outside?

Tanning beds and sunbathing can be damaging to the skin, so health officials urged the public to avoid them.

Nearly 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer, according to the EPA. In 2024, more than 100,600 new cases of invasive melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will likely be diagnosed in the U.S., the American Cancer Society predicts. That’s about 3,000 more cases than were estimated in 2023.

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Some people may have a greater risk of developing skin cancer depending on several factors, including the color of their skin, if they had a history of blistering sunburns in their childhood, if they have many moles, or if they have a family history of skin cancer. The EPA also reminded the public that it’s important for people to protect themselves from the sun throughout the year, not just in the summer.