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When Others Don’t Care About Skin Cancer

It seems like saying others don’t care about your health is sad or ridiculous, but it’s sometimes true. I recently read a story about a man using an umbrella on the beach due to having past issues with skin cancer. What happened? He was told to remove it. So, what do you do when others don’t care about skin cancer?

What happened on the beach?

At Belleair Shore in Pinellas County, Florida, a man had a normal beach umbrella up to protect himself from the sun. According to a local ordinance, umbrellas are prohibited on the beach,1 and he was told to remove it. Not only that, but he was issued a fine. According to the beach goer, he’s used it many times at many beaches. He’s never had an issue till now, but was fined for the supposed infraction.

It’s apparent that the people issuing the fine could care less about his health, and are only focused on the ordinance, which many people feel is simply for the wealthy homeowners that live near the beach. In fact, there are many ordinances on the sign there - some seem normal, others may not. Yet, many of those same homeowners want the ordinance changed. They also use the beach and wish to have the ability to find shade with umbrellas. The man charged with a fine is a Belleair Shore homeowner himself.

"I have to protect myself. I have to protect my grandkids. When we're here, we spend maybe three hours, four hours at the most. We want to be able to have an umbrella," Belleair Beach resident Pete Redero said.2

What do you do now?

If someone is hampering your efforts to protect yourself from skin cancer, it may be best to move to a beach that allows temporary shade structures like umbrellas. Your health is more important than following the rules but by moving, you can do both. The problem in this case is that Mr. Redero lives there. It’s not easy to just move to another beach when this one is right in front of your home.

When others don’t care about skin cancer

No one is responsible for your health except you - unless the person in question is a minor. In cases like these, you must protect yourself as much as possible. Especially if you have already had skin cancer in the past.

Use sunscreen often and one with a high SPF. Make sure you’re not going in the sun during the times when the sun is harshest - usually from 10 am to 2 pm.

Umbrellas protect you somewhat from the sun, and definitely provide shade. But they’re not 100 percent protective. So, using an umbrella at the beach isn’t enough. You still need sunscreen and to follow good practices in the sun in order to protect your skin. Even in the shade of an umbrella, you can still be sunburned.3 It does help, but not as much as you need.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this case and if the homeowners are allowed to use umbrellas in the future.

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