Saturday, December 16, 2017
Health

Tampa council warms to the idea of free sunscreen dispensers at its parks

TAMPA — On the brink of a long, hot summer, the idea intrigued City Council member Harry Cohen: Why not put free sunscreen dispensers at city parks?

"We all know how hot it gets," he said at Thursday's council meeting. The dispensers, he said, could be a creative way to "provide a huge service" at low cost.

Make Big Change, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit created to fight skin cancer, told the council it would donate 20 of the canary-yellow dispensers to the city. Over the past year, it has placed 250 of them in Boston.

The battery-operated dispensers use an infrared sensor to deliver a 1.5-milliliter dose of SPF 30 sunscreen without the user having to touch the unit. Each holds a liter of sunscreen — enough for more than 660 applications — and includes a shatterproof mirror, a space for sponsor advertising and a light that signals when it's empty.

But the city would have to pay for the sunscreen. Based on an estimate that Make Big Change executive director Laurie Seavey provided to the City Council, that cost could range from $8,000 to $12,000 a year for 20 dispensers.

Kim DeGance of Palma Ceia said she learned about Make Big Change while working with other moms on an application for a grant to pay for a sun shade at Corona Park.

"I thought, 'What a great idea,' " DeGance said, and not just for her neighborhood park. "I think it would be great on Bayshore."

Make Big Change was founded in 2014 after the U.S. Surgeon General called for action to prevent skin cancer.

"We're looking to launch a national campaign: SPF is your BFF," Seavey said. More melanomas are diagnosed annually than prostate, lung and breast cancers combined, she said, and up to 90 percent are likely to be caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. "It's the most diagnosed cancer, but it's also the most preventable."

The council asked the Parks Department to look into the idea and report back on July 14.

The goal is consistent with other city efforts, parks director Greg Bayor said.

"We make our lifeguards wear hats and put umbrellas on pool decks," he said. "We have put shade structures at a lot of the new playgrounds, and we've made budget requests for more shade structures. We're trying to get kids in the shade as much as possible."

That said, the city likely would have to put out a request for proposals so that anyone could bid on the program if officials decide to pursue it. Bayor also said his staff needs to do some research.

"We're going to have to look at what risks are involved, risk being liability," he said.

Not a problem, Seavey told the council. Both the sunscreen manufacturer and Make Big Change carry insurance, she said, "so if somebody was to put this on their hot dog, we're all set."

The council's discussion was timely and not just because of the season.

This week, the online finance network WalletHub ranked St. Petersburg as one of the worst places in the nation for the risk of skin cancer.

The study looked at 150 U.S. cities and considered factors such as the climate, the rate of melanomas, the skin-cancer death rate, and number of tanning salons per 100,000 residents. With fewer than 4 skin-cancer deaths per 100,00 residents, Tampa was ranked better than St. Petersburg, where the death rate tops 7 per 100,000.

Contact Richard Danielson at (813) 226-3403 or [email protected] Follow @Danielson_Times.

Comments
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — After months of tense negotiations and weeks of political impasse, the City Council on Thursday derailed a proposal that would have changed the ownership structure of the city’s largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.The 5-...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday.The shortage is particularly acute in four speciality area...
Published: 12/13/17
An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

Consider it America’s other prescription drug epidemic.For decades, experts have warned that older Americans are taking too many unnecessary drugs, often prescribed by multiple doctors, for dubious or unknown reasons. Researchers estimate that 25 per...
Published: 12/13/17
How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Published: 12/12/17
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Published: 12/12/17
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Published: 12/12/17
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17