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Expert advice

16th Jun 2023

HSE issue sun safety warning to parents ahead of humid weekend

Met Éireann has more warm and humid weather forecast for over the coming days with highs of 20C expected in some areas.

The HSE has today issued a warning to parents reminding them to protect themselves and their kids from the damaging effects of exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

The HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) in collaboration with Healthy Ireland is reminding the public that even when it’s cloudy, you need to be SunSmart.

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer and the more UV you’re exposed to, the greater your risk.

UV is always strongest during the middle of the day, typically between the hours of 11 am to 3 pm from April to September.

When the UV index is 3 or above, you need to protect your skin and eyes and follow the Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s:

  • Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, and wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, and clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
  • Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB protection) sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat: Protect your face, ears, and neck.
  • Seek shade: Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
  • Slide on sunglasses: Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

Speaking about the importance of sun safety over the summer months, Liz Coleman, Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann says: “It is important not to be caught out by the sun so plan ahead and check the UV Index for your area on the Met Éireann website or app.

“Even in cloudy conditions, UV rays can affect your skin. Take precautions by wearing clothing with long sleeves, a collared shirt, wear a hat and sunglasses, and spending time in the shade.

“Use a high-factor sun cream with good UVA protection to protect yourself and don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours.”

Dr Triona McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE NCCP added: “With the warm weather forecast for this weekend, people will have more opportunity to get outside and enjoy it.

“It is important to remember the sun isn’t only strong abroad. It can be strong enough in Ireland to damage your skin and is strongest during the middle of the day, typically between 11 am to 3 pm.

“We want to remind everyone to be prepared and enjoy the outdoors safely by following the SunSmart 5S’s, to protect their skin and reduce their risk of skin cancer.”


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