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16th May 2023

Charity issues urgent warning to parents over dangers of sunburn and how to prevent it

Ellen Fitzpatrick

A skin cancer charity has sent out a warning after there were more cases of sunburn reported in April than any other month so far this year.

With the climate getting warmer and the summer set to be the hottest on record, Melanoma Fund UK is urging the public to be aware of sun safety and skin cancer.

They are aiming to raise awareness of how the spring sun can be just as damaging as the heat in summer, even if the weather makes it seem otherwise.

Studies have proven that sunburn in childhood can double the risk of melanoma and the charity urges parents to ensure their child is protected if they are playing outdoors.

They wrote on Instagram: “We’re on a mission to get sun protection taken seriously by all those who love sports and outdoor recreation and work with hundreds of sports and outdoor organisations with our 4 awareness campaigns.

“As part of this, we’ve teamed up with Which UK to raise awareness of how a spring sunburn in the UK can catch us all unaware! The message is, NEVER just take the weather as an indication of how strong UV rays are! If the UV Index is 3 or over, it’s time for sun protection.”

The Irish Cancer Society has resources online about sun safety, with their SunSmart Code giving advice to anyone during warmer months.

Step 1: Seek some shade. This allows for 75% more protection from harmful UV rays as they hit directly from the sun and indirectly as they break through clouds or reflect off surfaces.

Step 2: Slip on some clothes. Covering your skin as much as possible is the best way to avoid UV rays, with darker colours blocking them the best and linen, cotton and hemp being the most ideal fabrics to wear.

Step 3: Wear sunglasses. Protecting your eyes is also extremely important as the short term effects can lead to difficulty with bright lights, excessive blinking and sunburn of the part of the eye known as the cornea whereas long term exposure can lead to cataracts and cancer.

Step 4: Use sunscreen. Sunscreen is the most important part of sun protection as it reduces your risk of skin cancer. To learn more, check out this article we previously posted about SPF.

Step 5: Know the UV index. If the UV Index is 3 or more you are at greater risk of skin damage, so getting into the habit of checking this each day is the best way to plan ahead of time.

You can check the UV Index here.


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