While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Reflective surfaces, such are water, sand, concrete and tiles increase your risk of sun damage as these surfaces also reflect ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
In some cases you can get almost a double dose of UV – directly from the sun and then through reflection. The beach and backyard pool are major hot spots for sunburn as when you are near water, UV can reach you on the rebound by bouncing off reflective surfaces.
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk.
While largely preventable, skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia. Over 440,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer each year – that’s over 1,000 people each day! By following some simple steps, you can still enjoy your time in the sun and protect yourself from overexposure.
Be a Role Model
When it comes to adolescents and young adults, sun protection can be a hard sell – often they are more concerned with maintaining their image, finding covering up a ‘hassle’ they can live without.
However, adolescents can be motivated to use sun protection to prevent the embarrassment of sunburn and, in the longer term, to prevent wrinkles, sun damage and skin cancer.
Remind your teenagers to protect themselves – show them the UV Alert http://www.bom.gov.au/uv/ and smart phone app http://www.sunsmart.com.au/resources/sunsmart-app
Be a role model for sun protection by wearing hats, protective clothing, sunglasses, using sunscreen and seeking shade.
Generously apply sunscreen
For maximum protection, use SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen. Reapply every 2 hours or more frequently after swimming or working up a sweat.
Do not burn
Sunburns significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.
Wear protective clothing
Wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will prevent too much sun exposure.
Seek shade whenever possible and remember that the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. Take shade to the beach.
Use Extra Caution
Be sure to use extra caution when near water, snow and sand. These elements reflect the rays of the sun and increase the chance of sunburn.
Check the UV index
Be sure to check the UV index issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. It provides important information to help you plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure. http://www.bom.gov.au/uv/