Sun Sense

Don’t blister, sister! Don’t get burnt, brother!
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. This is because of our long, hot summers, our depleted ozone layer, and the fact that all Australians spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun. While skin cancer can be treated effectively if it’s detected early enough, many people still die from this condition each year.

Did you know that just six doses of sunburn between the ages of 12 and 25 doubles your chances of developing melanoma? Melanoma is the most serious of all skin cancers and it can kill you very quickly. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest in the middle of the day. Try and avoid as much sun as possible between 10am and 3pm – the danger zone!

You can still get sunburnt even when it’s cool and cloudy. In fact, most people get burnt when the weather is cooler. So even if the sun isn’t shining, remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP …

SLIP on a long-sleeved shirt with a collar to avoid burning your body. Choose natural materials and a loose fit to help keep you cool. Darker colours are best, as they won’t reflect UV rays onto your skin.

SLOP on sunscreen SPF15+ 20 minutes before you go out in the sun to give you two hours of protection. Use a cream that is broad spectrum and water-resistant.

SLAP on a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, ears and neck. Again, go for a hat in a dark colour made with closely woven fabric.

And don’t forget your SUNNIES! UV radiation can affect your eyes too, so make sure you wear sunglasses that offer 100 per cent UV ray protection.

Remember, even people with dark skin can develop skin cancer. If you’re serious about your health, don’t let the sun get you blistered and burnt!

Whatever your health issues are, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Across Australia there is a network of Aboriginal medical services to help you.

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