The recent spell of hot weather highlighted the importance of enjoying the sun safely and at the same time, protecting your skin.
At the HSE Regional Forum, this week, I was provided an update on the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland’s new #SunSmart awareness campaign. It’s so important, no matter whether you are out for a walk, grabbing a coffee, playing sport, simply relaxing in your garden or dining outdoors, be #SunSmart and protect your skin, even when it’s cloudy out.
To reduce skin cancer risk, it is important to protect your skin when outside, especially from April to September when ultraviolet rays from the sun are strongest. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 cases annually. Yet in most cases, skin cancers could be prevented.
The 2019 Healthy Ireland survey found that most of us use sunscreen of factor 30 or higher (68%) or wear sunglasses (60%) to protect ourselves from the sun. However, less than half of us wear a hat to protect face, neck, and ears (42%), limit the time spent in the sun (31%) or stay in the shade when outdoors (28%). Seeking shade and covering skin with clothing are some of the best ways to protect skin from sun damage.
No sunscreen can provide 100% protection; it is important to use shade, clothes and sunglasses too. In this way, you get the best possible protection from UV damage. In Ireland, make sun protection part of your daily routine particularly from April-September, even when it is cloudy. Stay safe by limiting time in the midday sun when UV is strongest, typically between the hours of 11:00am-3:00pm.
For more information and to learn how to protect yourself and your family this summer visit the SunSmart hub at http://www.hse.ie/sunsmart.
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Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee