Summer has arrived! May has finally decided to peep its way through the winter and to kick start the summer season we embrace May with Skin Cancer Awareness Month. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in Ireland and with over 11,000 new cases diagnosed in 2015, it’s so important to take all necessary precautions every day in the sun to maximise our protection but also to remember to enjoy the sun safely.
As we all know, over exposure to UV rays that come from the sun, which leads to tanning, redness or burning of the skin, causes damage to skin cells. While much of this damage is repaired some remains and can lead to skin cancer later in life.
Reduce your risk by following the SunSmart Code.
Step one – Find that Shade!
Obviously, spending time in the shade is the most effective way you can avoid being in the sun too long. With that being said, nobody can have shade from the sun all the time when enjoying the outdoors, but keeping in mind to get shade every hour or so is a good way to give your skin a break from the sun and protect you from direct and indirect UV rays.
Some UV rays can pass through windows. Generally car, home and office windows block most UVB rays but less of the UVA rays. As a result UV radiation that comes through windows probably doesn’t pose a great risk to most people unless they spend long periods of time close to a window.
Bear in mind if you are someone who sits at a window all day or drives a lot in the course of your day, you need to use clothes and sunscreen to protect your skin as though you may think you’re in direct shelter, you’re not protected from the sun.
Step 2- Cover in style!
While most of us love to enjoy the fresh air and great whether, one of the simplest things you can do to protect your skin from UV rays is to cover it with clothes.
Simply choosing clothes that cover as much skin as possible but yet are still comfortable to wear in the heat, for example, wear a shirt with a collar, three-quarter length sleeves and three-quarter length trousers or even a long light summer dress
Some people forget about the obvious places like the face, neck, head and ears. Putting on a decent hat can protect all these areas at the same time.
Not forgetting about the little ones and how fussy they can be. Choosing a hat for a child is so important, something that is comfortable and that they like should do the trick. This way they are more likely to wear it. However, being a good role model will help any fuss with kids, remember - what you do, they follow!
Step 3 – Don’t forget the eyes
Don’t forget about your eyes, they can be damaged by UV rays too.
Eye damage from UV rays can start at an early age. For this reason it is a good idea to protect children’s eyes with sunglasses when they are old enough to wear them. Make sure the glasses fit well and that they are not a safety hazard.
When choosing your sunglasses:
Go for wrap-around ones. Make sure they give UV protection.
Step 4- Layer on the sunscreen
In Ireland as the good weather starts to peek through, it is important to wear sunscreen from April to September to reduce your risk of skin cancer. But remember, using sunscreen alone will not give enough protection against UV rays. It is important to use shade, clothes and sunglasses too.
Use a ‘broad-spectrum’ sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB; – SPF minimum 30 and look for these signs for UVA protection. Apply to dry skin 20 minutes before going outside. Be extra careful of those areas that do not get much sun, they will burn more easily. For the average adult you will need 35mls of sunscreen to cover the whole body. It’s recommended to use a measure of half a teaspoon of sunscreen to cover each arm, the face, neck and ears. Use a measure of one teaspoon for each leg, the front and the back of the body. Reapply every two hours. Check the products use-by date and store it below 30°C. Choose a water-resistant type if sweating or you are involved in watersports. Always check for the UVA logo on the bottle.
The benefits of health screening can be felt by both the employer and the employee alike. Health screening is an effective way of increasing employee morale, and leads to reduced sickness and levels of absenteeism.
Smoking Cessation Programmes, Carbon Monoxide Lung Analysis, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment, Alcohol Awareness/Risk Assessment, Spirometry, Celiac Testing, Weight and Stress Management.