Important Flu Season Update from Your Concierge Doctors in Jupiter

As your trusted Concierge Doctors in Jupiter, we are committed to keeping you informed about health concerns that might affect our community. This year, we face a challenging flu season that has seen a significant rise in influenza cases and other respiratory illnesses across 38 states, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This update is particularly relevant as we navigate the period between Christmas and New Year’s, which has shown a dramatic increase in flu activity.

The CDC’s latest report is alarming yet crucial for our awareness: since October, there have been at least 10 million flu-related illnesses, leading to 110,000 hospitalizations and 6,500 deaths. These figures emphasize the severity of the current flu season, which generally peaks between December and February.

On a more reassuring note, the CDC director has confirmed that this year’s flu shots are well-matched to combat the prevalent strain. This is a significant factor in controlling the spread and severity of the flu, and we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

In our local area, including our practice in Jupiter, pediatricians have noted an increase in respiratory illnesses among children and young adults up to age 21. Reflecting on the situation at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Dr. Megan Martin mentions, “We’re still seeing RSV and COVID as well. It’s keeping our emergency department pretty busy with all of these respiratory illnesses.”

In December, the hospital reported a rise in flu A and B cases, with 431 instances, and more than 185 cases of RSV. Additionally, 61 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Dr. Martin compares this to pre-pandemic years, noting that while it’s not the worst flu season, it is notably rigorous compared to the pandemic years when mask-wearing reduced transmission significantly.

At our Concierge Doctors office in Jupiter, we are closely monitoring these developments and are here to support your health needs during this flu season. We advise our patients to take preventive measures such as getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene, and being mindful of symptoms. If you or your family members are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please reach out to us for guidance and treatment options.

Our priority is your health and well-being. By staying informed and proactive, we can collectively navigate through this flu season safely. Remember, we are here to assist you with any health concerns you may have.

Weight Loss Drugs: What You Need to Know About New Findings on Severe Stomach Problems

Many patients turn to medication as a potential solution in the quest for weight loss solutions. Among the popular choices are drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus. While their effectiveness in weight loss and diabetes management is well-known, a recent study from the University of British Columbia has shed light on potential severe gastrointestinal side effects.

Here’s what you should know.

1. A Brief Overview of GLP-1 Agonist Weightloss Drugs:

These drugs mimic the action of a gut hormone activated after eating, enhancing insulin release, suppressing sugar production in the liver, and reducing appetite. They have been widely prescribed for diabetes management, but their use for weight loss in non-diabetic patients has grown significantly.

2. Previous Concerns with Digestive Issues:

Past research indicated some risk of digestive problems for diabetes patients using these medications. However, this new study provides the first large-scale insight into these effects on non-diabetic patients using them solely for weight loss.

3. The New Findings:

  • 9.09 times increased risk of pancreatitis.
  • 4.22 times increased risk of bowel obstruction.
  • 3.67 times higher risk of gastroparesis.

While an increase in biliary disease was observed, it wasn’t statistically significant.

4. The Implications:

The sheer number of individuals using these drugs worldwide means that, even if these side effects are rare, hundreds of thousands might still experience these conditions. Understanding the risks becomes vital, especially for those who might be using the medications for general weight loss rather than for diabetes or obesity.

5. The Call to Action:

Researchers hope that pharmaceutical companies and regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will include the risk of gastroparesis on warning labels.

Conclusion:

Drugs can be a powerful tool in the journey towards better health and weight loss. However, as with all medical interventions, being informed is crucial. The potential side effects, while rare, can be severe. Patients must weigh the benefits against the risks and make an informed decision.

“Knowing the potential side effects is critical. It empowers patients to seek medical attention promptly and prevent further complications,” says Sodhi, emphasizing the importance of this new research. As always, consulting with your healthcare provider is recommended before starting or stopping any medication.

Flu Season Preparation: Creating a Personalized Flu Prevention Plan

Flu season can bring about a flurry of sniffles, coughs, and body aches which are often accompanied by a flurry of doctor’s appointments and sick days. It tends to peak between December and February but can last from October to as late as May. Preparing for this time of year is essential in not only protecting your own health but also the health of those around you. The key to this preparation is crafting a personalized flu prevention plan. Our primary care doctors in Jupiter have some tips on how you can create yours:

Step 1: Know Your Risk

Some individuals are at a higher risk for severe flu and complications. This includes young children, pregnant women, individuals with chronic health conditions, and people aged 65 and older. Understanding your risk will help you take the necessary precautions.

Step 2: Get Vaccinated

The annual flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu. It is advisable for everyone six months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider to find the right flu vaccine for you.

Step 3: Practice Good Hygiene

Good hygiene is a powerful tool in preventing the flu. Make sure to:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.


Step 4: Boost Your Immune System

Maintaining a strong immune system can help ward off the flu. Ensure you are:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Sleeping for 7-9 hours each night.
  • Managing stress through mindfulness practices like meditation or yoga.


Step 5: Avoid Close Contact

Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick, and if you are feeling unwell, stay home to prevent spreading the flu to others.

Step 6: Seek Medical Advice

If you’re at high risk for flu complications or have severe flu symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. Antiviral drugs can be a treatment option.

Step 7: Create a Sick-Day Plan

Have a plan in place for managing sick days whether it’s for you or your family. Know your employer’s policies on sick leave and have a plan for childcare if necessary.

Conclusion:

Facing the flu season unprepared can be daunting. However, by understanding your risk and having a personalized flu prevention plan in place, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling ill. Remember, a little preparation now can save a lot of trouble later. Your health and the health of those around you is worth the effort.

COVID tests: When and Where to Order the Next Batch of Free Ones

With the winter months approaching and the memories of last year’s challenges still fresh, it’s heartening to see the Biden administration taking proactive measures to ensure Americans have access to at-home COVID-19 testing. Our primary care doctors want you to have the latest information. Here is everything you need to know.

More Funds for At-home Tests

In a recent announcement, the administration unveiled a $600 million plan aimed at boosting the production of these critical tests. This move will not only replenish federal stockpiles but also help circumvent the supply chain problems that led to shortages in the past. What’s more, these tests will be manufactured right here in the USA by twelve manufacturers scattered across seven states. This means hundreds of jobs and, most importantly, 200 million over-the-counter tests for Americans.

Where to Order?

For those wondering where to get these tests, the original COVIDTests.gov website will once again be your go-to place. Here, every household can order up to four free tests.

Availability Dates

Mark your calendar for September 25. Starting from this date, the tests can be ordered and will be shipped directly to your doorsteps for free, courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

Updated Vaccines: What You Need to Know

In addition to the at-home tests, there’s more good news on the vaccine front. Last week, the CDC gave its endorsement to new COVID-19 shots suitable for everyone aged 6 months and older.

For those looking for places to get vaccinated, the government’s vaccines.gov website will list available locations, including pharmacies, health centers, and some doctor’s offices. And while the list price of each shot hovers between $120 to $130, federal assurances mean that these shots will remain free for most Americans, whether through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. The CDC is also collaborating with health departments, clinics, and some pharmacies to ensure that even the uninsured or underinsured get their shots free of charge.

Flu Shot and COVID-19 Vaccine: Together?

One of the most common questions is whether one can get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine simultaneously. The answer is a resounding yes. According to the CDC, there’s no difference in effectiveness or side effects whether you get both vaccines together. If you do decide to go this route, consider getting one shot in each arm for comfort. Remember, it’s recommended that almost everyone aged 6 months and up gets their flu shot, ideally by the end of October.

In conclusion, as we prepare for the colder months, these proactive measures and clear guidelines will certainly help in ensuring the health and safety of all Americans. Stay safe and stay informed!

Understanding Different Heat Illnesses

As the temperatures rise during the warmer months, many of us enjoy spending more time outdoors. However, with the increase in temperatures comes the potential risk of heat-related illnesses. Our primary care doctors in Jupiter want you to be informed about the different types of heat illnesses to prevent them and to provide proper care if someone is affected.

1. Heat Stroke

What it is: Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. It happens when the body’s temperature rises rapidly, and it can’t cool down.

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do: Call 911 immediately. While waiting for medical professionals, move the person to a cooler place and try to reduce their body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath. Do not give the person anything to drink.

2. Heat Exhaustion

What it is: Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. If left untreated, it can escalate to heat stroke.

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting

What to do: Move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, put cool, wet clothes on your body or take a cool bath. If the person is fully conscious, they can sip water. If the symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, seek medical attention.

3. Heat Cramps

What it is: Muscle spasms or pains that occur due to intense exercise in hot weather.

Symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps, usually in the legs or abdomen
  • Heavy sweating

What to do: Stop the activity and move to a cool place. Drink water or a sports drink. Wait for the cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity.

4. Heat Rash

What it is: Skin irritation from excessive sweating.

Symptoms:

  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin
  • Usually appears on the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases

What to do: Stay in a cool, dry place. Keep the rash dry and avoid using ointments or creams as they can keep the skin warm and moist, worsening the condition.

5. Dehydration

What it is: A lack of enough water in the body, often caused by too much sweating.

Symptoms:

  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Not urinating much
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • Dry skin

What to do: Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. If dehydration is severe and accompanied by symptoms like confusion, rapid heartbeat, or rapid breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

Prevention Tips

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol as they can dehydrate you.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use a wide-brimmed hat or an umbrella for shade.
  • Stay Cool: Avoid direct sunlight whenever possible, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Use fans or air conditioning to cool down.
  • Limit Outdoor Activities: Do strenuous activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

By understanding the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and taking preventive measures, you can safely enjoy the warm weather without the health risks. Always listen to your body, and if you or someone around you is showing signs of a heat illness, take it seriously and seek medical attention if needed.

Regular Cardiac Health Checks: Even Without Apparent Heart Issues

The heart is the symbolic and biological epicenter of our existence, powering life as we know it. With each beat, this robust muscle keeps blood coursing through our veins, supplying vital oxygen and nutrients to all of our organs.

Whether you’re an exercise enthusiast or a confessed couch potato, whether you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition or not, it’s crucial to regularly check your cardiac health. But why is it so important, particularly if you’re not exhibiting any obvious signs of heart disease? This blog aims to answer that question, highlighting the reasons why routine cardiac health checks are indispensable, regardless of your heart disease status.

  • Prevention is Better Than Cure

One of the primary reasons to conduct regular cardiac health checks is to spot potential problems before they escalate. Even in the absence of symptoms, certain risk factors—like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, or being overweight—can silently affect your heart health. These conditions can gradually lead to serious heart problems, often without presenting any noticeable symptoms until the damage is significant.

  • Early Detection Saves Lives

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally. What’s particularly troubling is that many who succumb to heart-related conditions showed little to no prior symptoms. Regular cardiac health checks facilitate early detection, increasing the likelihood of successful intervention and treatment. The sooner a potential issue is identified, the more options there are for treatment, and the better the outcomes generally are.

  • Heart Disease can be Stealthy

Symptoms of heart disease aren’t always as dramatic as what we see in movies. In reality, heart disease often sneaks up silently, and its symptoms are sometimes mistaken for less serious conditions like indigestion or stress. Regular check-ups can help uncover these stealthy conditions, ensuring that any issues are treated promptly and effectively.

  • Lifestyle Impact

Modern lifestyles are increasingly sedentary and stressful, which can negatively impact our cardiac health. Regular monitoring provides a reality check and an opportunity to modify these lifestyle factors. Simple adjustments, like regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, and quitting smoking, can significantly improve cardiac health.

  • Genetic Predisposition

Even if you’re currently heart-healthy, you may be genetically predisposed to heart disease. If a close family member has experienced heart disease, particularly at a young age, your risk is higher. Regular cardiac health checks help track any changes over time and help you manage your risk effectively.

  • Aging and Heart Health

As we age, the risk of heart disease increases due to the natural wear and tear of the heart and blood vessels. Regular check-ups can help monitor the aging heart and implement necessary precautions and treatments to keep it healthy.

In conclusion, maintaining regular cardiac health checks, even if you have no existing heart issues, plays an essential role in overall health maintenance. Your heart may be silently shouldering the burden of lifestyle, genetic factors, or hidden conditions. Our concierge doctors in Jupiter often encourage our patients to check with various specialists even if they have no symptoms for these exact reasons. Uncovering these potential issues before they become problematic can add healthy, quality years to your life.

It’s time we started prioritizing our heart health the same way we do our professional growth or personal development. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your heart. After all, a healthy heart is a happy heart.

Concierge Medicine vs. Traditional Healthcare: Understanding the Differences

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, there are various models of care available to patients. Two such models that have gained popularity in recent years are concierge medicine and traditional healthcare. While both aim to provide quality healthcare services to individuals, they differ significantly in their approach, level of personalization, and cost structure. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of concierge medicine and traditional healthcare, highlighting their unique features and helping you understand the differences between the two.

Traditional Healthcare: The Familiar Model

Traditional healthcare, also known as fee-for-service or insurance-based healthcare, is the conventional approach that most people are accustomed to. It involves patients seeking care from primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who accept insurance plans. In this model, patients typically pay for their medical services through insurance coverage or out-of-pocket fees for uninsured services.

Here are some key features of traditional healthcare:

  • Insurance dependency: Traditional healthcare heavily relies on insurance plans, where patients pay premiums to insurance companies, who in turn cover a portion of the medical expenses. The insurance provider negotiates rates with healthcare providers, and patients often have co-pays, deductibles, and limitations on covered services.
  • Limited time with physicians: Due to the demands of a traditional healthcare practice, physicians often have a large number of patients, leading to shorter appointment times. This can result in patients feeling rushed during their visits and limited opportunities to discuss their health concerns thoroughly.
  • Referrals for specialist care: In traditional healthcare, patients often require referrals from their primary care physicians to consult specialists or undergo certain medical procedures. This can cause delays in accessing specialized care and can add additional administrative steps to the process.
  • Insurance-driven limitations: Traditional healthcare models are subject to insurance regulations, which can dictate the coverage and reimbursement rates for specific procedures, medications, and tests. This may sometimes restrict physicians’ treatment options or create administrative burdens.

Concierge Medicine: Personalized Care and Beyond

Concierge medicine, also known as boutique or retainer-based medicine, is a healthcare model that offers enhanced personalized care and direct access to physicians in exchange for an annual or monthly fee. This model aims to provide a higher level of attention, convenience, and comprehensive care to patients.

Here are some key features of concierge medicine:

  • Membership-based care: In concierge medicine, patients pay an annual or monthly membership fee to a primary care physician or a practice. This fee grants them access to a range of personalized services and benefits beyond what traditional healthcare offers.
  • Extended and unhurried appointments: Concierge medicine allows for longer appointment times, ensuring that patients have ample opportunity to discuss their health concerns and receive comprehensive care. This model emphasizes building strong doctor-patient relationships and prioritizes individualized attention.
  • Enhanced access and convenience: Concierge practices often provide same-day or next-day appointments, 24/7 access to physicians via phone or email, and reduced waiting times. This accessibility allows patients to receive timely medical advice and attention, promoting a higher level of convenience and peace of mind.
  • Preventive care and wellness focus: Concierge medicine emphasizes proactive and preventive care, focusing on wellness and disease prevention. Physicians have the freedom to develop personalized health plans, including tailored screenings, lifestyle counseling, and wellness programs.
  • Additional services and amenities: Depending on the concierge practice, patients may have access to additional services such as telemedicine consultations, in-depth health assessments, coordination of specialist care, personalized health coaching, and more.

Understanding the Differences

The primary differences between concierge medicine and traditional healthcare can be summarized as follows:

  • Payment structure: Traditional healthcare relies on insurance payments and out-of-pocket fees, while concierge medicine operates on a membership or retainer fee structure.
  • Level of access and time with physicians: Concierge medicine offers extended appointment times, enhanced access to physicians, and a greater emphasis on building strong doctor-patient relationships, whereas traditional healthcare often involves shorter appointment times and limited access to physicians.
  • Personalization and comprehensive care: Concierge medicine focuses on personalized care plans, preventive medicine, and comprehensive wellness services beyond what is typically offered in traditional healthcare settings.
  • Additional services and amenities: Concierge medicine practices often provide additional services and amenities, such as 24/7 physician access, telemedicine consultations, and coordination of specialist care, to enhance the patient experience.

It’s important to note that while concierge medicine offers numerous advantages, it may not be accessible or affordable for everyone due to its higher cost structure. Traditional healthcare, on the other hand, remains the more common and widely available model for most individuals.

In conclusion, concierge medicine and traditional healthcare represent two distinct approaches to delivering medical care. Our concierge doctors in Jupiter emphasize personalization, extended time with patients, and comprehensive services, while traditional healthcare operates within the framework of insurance-based models. Understanding the differences between these two models can help patients make informed decisions about their healthcare needs and preferences.

Why is Elderly Nutrition So Important?

If our primary care concierge doctors in Jupiter could choose the most important thing for elderly care, it would be nutrition. Elderly nutrition is crucial because as we age, our bodies undergo changes that make it more challenging to obtain the nutrients we need to stay healthy.  

Older Age Means More Changes

As we age, our metabolism slows down, our digestive system becomes less efficient, and our senses of taste and smell may diminish, which leads to a reduced appetite and a decreased interest in eating.

Additionally, older adults are more likely to have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, which can all be affected by diet. Proper nutrition can help manage these conditions, prevent complications, and improve overall quality of life.

Get the Good Stuff

Good nutrition is essential for maintaining muscle mass and bone density, which can help prevent falls and fractures. A balanced diet that includes adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D is crucial for older adults to maintain strong bones and muscles.

Elderly nutrition is essential for several reasons:

  1. Health: Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining good health, especially as we age. A balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups helps to provide the necessary nutrients for good health, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  2. Chronic Diseases: Good nutrition can help prevent or manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, which are more common in older adults.
  3. Immune System: Adequate nutrition is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system, which can help protect against infectious diseases and illnesses.
  4. Mental health: Good nutrition impacts mental health, such as reducing the risk of depression and cognitive decline.
  5. Quality of Life: Proper nutrition can improve the quality of life for older adults by increasing energy levels, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving overall physical and mental well-being.

Overall, elderly nutrition is essential for maintaining good health, preventing chronic diseases, and improving the quality of life in older adults. 

Learn About this Devastating Mental Disease and How to Stay Ahead

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain, causing progressive cognitive decline, memory loss, and behavioral changes. It is the most common cause of dementia and is characterized by the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain.


June is recognized as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this devastating disease and to support those who are affected by it. Our concierge primary care doctors in Jupiter want to discuss some important facts about Alzheimer’s disease, as well as tips for maintaining brain health and reducing your risk of developing the disease.

Facts about Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people in the United States, and that number is expected to triple by 2060.
  • There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but early detection and intervention can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is more common in older adults, but it can also affect younger people.
  • Genetics, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors may all play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • There are several different types of dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease is just one of them.

Tips for maintaining brain health:

  • Stay physically active: Regular exercise can help improve blood flow to the brain and promote the growth of new brain cells.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help support brain health.
  • Stay mentally active: Engage in activities that challenge your brain, such as puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill.
  • Stay socially connected: Social interaction can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Manage chronic health conditions: Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s important to manage these conditions through lifestyle changes and/or medication.

In conclusion, Alzheimer’s disease is a complex and devastating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. By raising awareness and taking steps to maintain brain health, we can work to reduce the impact of this disease and improve the quality of life for those affected by it.

Surprising Facts About Skin Cancer

You may think you already know everything about skin cancer. But because May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, our concierge primary care doctors in Jupiter want to share some facts about this often-deadly disease that you may not be aware of.

Brief Skin Cancer Recap

Let’s start with some facts about skin cancer you may already know:

  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Both can easily be cured if caught in time, but they can be disfiguring and expensive to treat.
  • Malignant melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. It represents only about three percent of all skin cancers diagnosed but is responsible for the most deaths. That’s because of its tendency to spread to other parts of the body, including vital organs. But when diagnosed early, its five-year survival rate is 99 percent.
  • The most preventable cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.
  • About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation.
  • One bad sunburn in childhood doubles the risk for melanoma later in life. Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. A single indoor tanning session increases your risk of melanoma by 20 percent.
  • Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection, because ultraviolet (UV) light can penetrate clouds.

Odd Skin Cancer Facts

There are other facts about skin cancer that you might never have heard before.

1. For example, did you know that more men than women die of melanoma? The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that one reason may be that men know less than women about skin cancer and that they use sunscreen less than women do.

Men’s skin is also more prone to penetration by UV rays than women’s because they have thicker skin with less fat beneath. A man’s skin also contains more collagen and elastin, making men’s skin more likely to be damaged by UV light.

2. On the other hand, one study found a greater association between white wine consumption and a higher risk of melanoma in women. Those who drink a glass of white wine each day showed a 13 percent increased risk of invasive melanoma (meaning it’s gone deeper than the top layer of skin), while those who drank the most white wine had an increased risk of 50 percent or higher than those who don’t drink any alcohol.

3. UV rays can penetrate glass in windows, both at home and in the car. This helps explain why left-sided facial cancers, especially in men, are more common. It’s all about the position we drive in, with the left side of the body exposed to more UV light. Windshields are treated to block UV rays, but side, back and sunroof windows aren’t. Also, be aware that UV rays can not only penetrate glass, but also can “bounce” under beach umbrellas and reflect off of concrete surfaces.

4. It’s extremely rare for a mole to transform into a melanoma, according to Dr. Ashfaq Marghoob, a dermatologist with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While melanoma can develop in a preexisting mole, nearly 70 percent do not. At the same time, the presence of many moles can identify those who are at an increased risk for developing melanoma somewhere else on their skin.

That’s why it’s important to apply sunscreen to all parts of the body.

“Some people use sunblock only where they have moles because they think the moles themselves are dangerous,” he says.

5. Caffeine may protect against skin cancer. One study found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily were 21 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer. Men were 10 percent less likely to develop BCC.

6. Melanomas are not necessarily brown. Some have no color or are pink or appear as simple bumps on the skin. That’s why it’s important not to try to diagnose skin cancer on your own.

“Be aware of isolated or pink spots, especially if the spot looks different than any other marks on the skin,” Marghoob says. “Pay attention to any spot or mark that has an uneven texture, shape, border, or distribution of colors,” he added. “In addition, any spot that has changed in some way should prompt a visit to your doctor.”

Avoiding Skin Cancer

To avoid getting skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S. and around the world, the AAD recommends these steps.

  • Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection. For more effective protection, choose clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

If you have any questions about how to protect yourself from the sun or notice new or suspicious spots on your skin or any spots that are changing, itching, or bleeding, let us know.

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