Tips on enjoying a sun-safe summer

Have fun this summer with a few helpful tips on sun safety for Sun Awareness Week, June 2-8

Ministry of Health

Savour the memories and have fun this summer with a few helpful tips on sun safety for Sun Awareness Week, June 2-8.

“We want families to be active and enjoy everything our province has to offer,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “However, when you’re swimming or playing soccer, it’s important to remember that the sunshine you’re enjoying can be quite harmful, and parents should make sure that they’re taking steps to protect themselves and their children.”

If you’re out in the afternoon hiking, biking or camping, be aware that the harmful rays of the sun are at their worst between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and protect your family accordingly. Wear sunscreen, protective gear, including a hat, and limit your exposure to the sun. Dermatologists strongly recommend a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Use a lip balm with SPF 30 as well. Remember, a tan is still skin damage and the same as a sunburn.

“While many people think that a tan looks good, it is really a sign that the skin is trying to protect itself from the ever stronger UV rays that come with summer, rays that cause aging of the skin, premature wrinkling and skin cancers,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “I recommend covering up and using sunscreen to protect the skin.”

When the weather heats up and families are out enjoying picnics or barbecues, exposure to direct sun and hot temperatures can cause dehydration and illness. Staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day and drinking lots of water will help prevent heat exhaustion.

While the warm summer sun may feel good on your skin, it’s particularly important for children and babies to be protected because skin can burn in only 15 minutes, depending on the UV index.

In B.C., melanoma incidence rates have been increasing annually, up 1.3% for men and 2.2% for women.

By staying safe and using sunscreen, you’re helping ensure that your family has great lasting memories for years to come.