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Injuries from indoor tanning include burns, passing out, eye injuries

The JAMA Network Journals

Skin burns, passing out and eye injuries were among the primary injuries incurred at indoor tanning sites and treated in emergency departments (EDs) at U.S. hospitals, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Indoor tanning exposes users to intense UV radiation, a known carcinogen. But less is known about the more immediate adverse effects of indoor tanning, according to background information in the article.

Gery P. Guy Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and co-authors analyzed nonfatal indoor tanning-related injury data from the 2003 to 2012 from a nationally representative sample of hospital EDs. The authors identified 405 nonfatal indoor tanning-related injuries.

An estimated 3,234 indoor tanning-related injuries, on average, were treated each year in U.S. hospitals during the study period. Individuals injured tended to be female (82.2 percent), non-Hispanic white (77.8 percent) and between the ages 18 to 24 years (35.5 percent). Most of the injuries were skin burns (79.5 percent), syncope (passing out, 9.5 percent) and eye injuries (5.8 percent), according to the study data. The number of indoor tanning-related injuries decreased from 6,487 in 2003 to 1,957 in 2012, which the authors suggest is likely due to a reduction in indoor tanning.

"Most patients were treated in the ED and released, not requiring hospitalization. However, burns severe enough to warrant an ED visit clearly indicate overexposure to UV radiation and increase skin cancer risk," the study concludes.

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(JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 15, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6697. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact author Gery P. Guy, Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., call Brittany Behm at 404-639-3286 or email media@cdc.gov.

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