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News Release

National Sun Awareness Week encourages focusing on simple steps to being sun safe

WHITBY, ON May 27, 2013 –Durham Region Health Department will mark National Sun Awareness Week, June 3 to 9, by focusing on the easy things that people can do to become more sun safe.

According to a 2012 Health Department survey, 37 per cent of area residents reported having sunburn in the past 12 months. “One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence can double a person’s chance of developing skin cancer later in life,” said Felicia Onwuemele, a public health nurse with the Health Department.

The Health Department recommends practising these sun safety tips to lower your risks when enjoying outdoor activities this summer and all year round:

  • Reduce your time in the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Cover up and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  • Find shade or bring your own umbrella or canopy.
  • Use lip balm and a broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before outdoor activities; reapply at least every two hours or more following water activity.
  • Check the UV index reading before participating in outdoor activities.

“Practising sun safety is important as it helps to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR),” added Ms. Onwuemele. “The health consequences of over exposure to UVR are serious; these can include sunburn, premature aging, eye damage and skin cancer.”

According to recent reports by the Canadian Dermatology Association and the Canadian Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada, accounting for nearly one-third of all newly-diagnosed cancers.

For further tips on sun safety, call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

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Media inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999