Fun in the Sun
Enjoy the Sun; Prevent the Damage
It’s summer again, and we’re outside playing, working, barbequing and enjoying the sunshine. We should also be taking precautions against the UV rays, but how many of us do?
Skin cancers are the most common type of cancer in Canada, but also one of the most preventable. 90% of skin cancer cases are estimated to be caused by UV radiation. A history of severe sunburn is an important risk factor for both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
Young people spend the most time in the sun with the least protection, but adults are still at risk. Around 1/3 of adults will experience a sunburn this summer.
Don’t let UV rays ruin your time in the sun … simply protect yourself to decrease your risk:
- Seek shade – Trees and umbrellas keep you out of direct sun but you should still protect yourself from reflected rays using the following tips.
- Cover up – Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face and neck and tightly woven fabrics or UV protectant clothing
- Wear sunglasses – Choose ones with UVA and UVB protection in a wraparound style
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen – Apply a generous amount of broad-spectrum SPF 30 or more, reapplying at least every 2 hours. Check the expiry date and always apply sunscreen before you apply your makeup, bug spray, or lotions.
- If in or near water, make sure the sunscreen is water-resistant and reapply often. ,Put on dry clothing after the getting wet as wet clothing can lose up to half of its UV protection.
- Wear a lip balm with SPF – skin on the lips is just as susceptible to UV. You may not notice it, but damage can occur as well as burning.
- Stay out of tanning beds – Tanning beds and sun lamps release UV rays, just like the sun, and use before age 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma 59%!
Babies and Children
In addition to seeking shade and using protective clothing, there are some extra considerations for young kids:
- Plan outdoor playtimes carefully – Try to stay out of the sun between 11:00 am-3:00 pm when it is at its highest and hottest
- Cover your stroller – Umbrellas may not provide shade from all angles, and the added shade also helps prevent dehydration and sunstroke
- Know when to sunscreen – If the child is six months or older, use sunscreen generously and reapply often. For younger children, speak to their pediatrician before applying.
- Don’t apply baby oil before going outside – Moisturizing with oil will make the effect of the sun stronger. Save it for before bedtime instead.
Know the UV Index
In Canada between April and September, the UV Index can be 3 or more during peak hours, even when it’s cloudy. Sun protection is recommended by Canadian Cancer Society anytime the index reaches 3 or higher. Check the weather for daily forecasts, which include the UV index.