10 Everyday Backyard Hazards and How to Fix Them

Ruinous Rays
Don't ruin an otherwise healthy gathering outdoors by neglecting your skin. Stay out of midday rays and apply sunscreen. ŠiStockphoto/Thinkstock

There's nothing quite like tending to a gorgeous spread of flowers in your back yard while the warm sun gleams brightly overhead. There's nothing quite like getting a diagnosis of terminal melanoma, either. Yet in spite of the widely publicized risks of ultraviolet light exposure, millions of people wander around under our nearest star without so much as a lick of skin protection.

So maybe it's not surprising that cancer of the skin variety is the most common in the U.S. Every year, 2 million people get the scary diagnosis. In the past three decades, more people received a skin cancer diagnosis than all other cancers combined [source: Skin Cancer Foundation]. In 2013, around 10,000 people in the U.S. will die from melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer, and nearly 90 percent of these cases are caused by sun exposure.

Of course, many skin cancers are also caused by willful exposure for vanity's sake, either outdoors or, (cue forehead slapping) inside tanning beds. Did you even know those were still a thing?

Avoid skin cancers by protecting yourself. Stay out of direct sun during midday, especially in the summer. Use sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15 every day (and reapply it frequently). Wear hats with big brims and clothes that offer plenty of coverage. And whatever you do, don't allow your skin to burn. Sunburns are skin abuse, and their bright red hues are like waving a maroon surrender flag to the Grim Reaper.