This year’s Sun Awareness Week will take place June 5-11. Sun safety recommendations have changed and the Porcupine Health Unit is encouraging everyone to be aware of ways to reduce the risks associated with sun exposure.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to sunburns, skin damage, wrinkles and skin cancer. Valerie Génier, a Public Health Nurse from the Porcupine Health Unit, states that there are many sun safety habits that a person can implement in order to reduce these risks while still being able to reap the health benefits associated with regular outdoor activities.
According to Génier, it’s best to limit exposure to the sun when the UV index is 3 or higher, usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from April to September. It’s also important to wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible and a wide-brim hat. Sunglasses should be close-fitting with UV 400 or 100% UV protection and worn at any time of the day, all year-around.
Another very important sun safety habit is to use sunscreen appropriately. Sunscreen should be labelled as being “broad spectrum” and “water resistant” with SPF 30 or higher. “Unfortunately a lot people don’t apply the recommended amount of sunscreen”, states Génier. Most adults need 2 to 3 tablespoons of sunscreen to cover their body in addition to 1 teaspoon of sunscreen to cover their face and neck. Sunscreen should be reapplied regularly especially after sweating, swimming or towelling.
The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.