Education is Key in Public Health Summer Sun Safety Program

Photos (from left):  Director of Natural Wonders Learning Center, Nicole Timmons and Public Health Nurse, Shelby Cooklin, RN; Grand Junction Municipal Pool Lifeguard, Miranda Cook and Public Health Nurse, Shelby Cooklin, RN; and Director of The Children's Center, Cherie Cerveny, and Public Health Nurse, Shelby Cooklin

JEFFERSON, Iowa – Greene County Public Health Team Members have been busy in recent weeks delivering sunscreen and working to educate about sun safety. This annual project is made possible with a partnership between Public Health, the Iowa Cancer Consortium, the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services.

“We have many community partners throughout Greene County who are working with us to provide free sunscreen and information about sun safety,” said Greene County Public Health Nurse, Shelby Cooklin, RN. “We want everyone to remember that a suntan is actually a sign the skin has been damaged, and this includes tans from tanning beds. In addition, recent statistics have shown that having five or more sunburns can double the risk for melanoma. One of the easiest ways to reduce that risk is by the proper and frequent use of sunscreens.”

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer within their lifetimes, making it the most common cancer in the US. Of the three types, squamous and basal cell carcinomas and melanoma, melanoma is the deadliest, often spreading to other parts of the body. The Iowa Cancer Registry reports, “Iowa continues to have the second highest and fastest growing rate of new cancers in the U.S,” and predicts 1,430 new cases of skin melanoma in 2024.   

Changes in the skin are the most common signs of cancer. Monitor any changes in size, shape and color of moles and other skin growths using the ABCDEs of melanoma: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolution. Your primary care provider should check any changes over a few weeks or months.

Skin cancer affects people of all ages and skin colors. Protection begins with the five S’s:

·        SLIP on lightweight, light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs;

·        SLOP on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours—don’t forget SPF lip balm;

·        SLAP on a tightly woven hat with a brim that covers the face, head, ears and neck;

·        SEEK shade or shelter, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and

·        SLIDE on UV-blocking sunglasses to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them.

”We are proud to support the summer sun safety program and their work to educate our community members about the risks associated with UV rays and how to reduce them,” Cooklin added. “We all need to do our part to protective ourselves and those we love from contracting skin cancer through exposure.”

For more information, call 515-386-3228.


Sunscreen and educational materials are available at the following Greene County locations and/or events:

·        Municipal swimming pools in Jefferson and Grand Junction

·        Home-based daycares, The Children’s Center, Natural Wonders Learning Center and Paton-Churdan Early Learning Center

·        Summer reading programs at each library

·        Jefferson: Main Street Matters

·        Dental offices of Dr. James Teusch and Dr. Keith Van Beek

·        Greene County Medical Center and Family Medicine Clinic

·        McFarland Clinic

·        Medicap and Hy-Vee pharmacies

·        Daubendiek disc golf course

·        Bell Tower Festival

·        Greene County Fair