Canadians donít slop on enough sunscreen, they donít slap on an appropriate hat, and they donít slip on clothes that adequately protect them from UV light.† Further, many of us go to tanning booths in the mistaken belief that itís a Ďsaferí way to tan.
Avoid being in the sun between 11 and 4pm.
Seek shade: your best option if outside, and donít forget that a beach umbrella will not protect you completely from the reflected rays from the sand.
Slap on a wide brimmed hat.† The best hat is one with an 8mm (3inch) brim, or a hat with ear and back flaps (legionnaires hat).† A baseball cap is NOT enough protection as it does not adequately protect the ears and neck, nor even protect all of the face from sideways rays from the sun.† Another important consideration is protecting your eyes, which are readily damaged by the sunís rays.† Therefore, everyone should wear close-fitting sunglasses when out, making sure that they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.† Surprisingly, many of the cheaper brands protect as well against these rays as do the more expensive types.† Wrap-around sunglasses or those that have side shields are the best type as they offer further protection by cutting down on sideways glare (5% of the total UV rays reaching the eyes.)† Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and proper sunglasses can reduce the ultra violet ray exposure to the eyes by 98%, whereas a wide-brimmed hat alone reduces it by only 50%.
††††††††††† Slip into tightly woven clothing, the tighter the weave the more protection.† Also the darker the colour the more protection, as the darker colours absorb more of the UV rays, thus keeping them from penetrating down to your skin.† Obviously long-sleeves and pants are your best protection against sunburn, and manmade fabrics on the whole seem to offer better protection than 100% cotton.† For adults and children who are very fair, the specially-made sunscreen clothing lines may be a valuable aid.
Slop on sunscreen: Whatever areas are not covered by a wide-brimmed hat or by tightly woven clothing should be covered with sunscreen.† Many people apply too little sunscreen, achieving an SPF of only 50-80% of what the product label claims.† It takes about 5ml (1tsp.) per arm and leg, as well as 10 ml (2 tsp.) more for the trunk, front and back.† In other words it takes about 30ml. (6 tsp.) to cover the entire body.† Simply put, unless you apply adequate amounts of sunscreen it is not able to protect at the SPF rating stated on the lotion bottle.† Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside to give it enough time to begin working, and reapply as often as indicated on the bottle and after swimming and exercise.
For more info check out dermatological and cancer websites.
For further information call Public Health Unit at 881-1920 , or visit our web site at www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca
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