Well according to the calendar it is summertime. Although in reality we haven’t seen a great deal of sun so far… Sunshine in our days lifts our mood, making us feel better about life as well as ‘topping-up’ our Vitamin D which keeps us healthy during the grey days of winter. However, with sunshine being an unpredictable part of our summer when it does appear common sense about sun safety seems to go on holiday! How many people do you see with sunburnt skin following the sudden rise in temperature? It seems that our longing for the mood lifting benefits of sunshine make us forget the simple steps to reduce the risks of skin damage and skin cancers.
Health education campaigns are designed to change behaviour to reduce risks to health and wellbeing. In reality changing behaviour takes a long time and campaigns are long term strategies and not ‘quick fixes’. For examples the ‘stop smoking’ campaign has been running since the 1960s.
Some campaigns however have been highly successful. The Cancer Council of Australia’s ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ sun awareness campaign started in the 1980s and has played an significant role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes in Australia, which has the highest incidence of skin cancer. Since 2007 the campaign has moved forward to reflect a greater understanding and the benefits of sitting in the shade and sliding on wrap-around sunglasses to prevent sun damage. So now the slogan is ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’:
Slip on a shirt
Slop on sunscreen
Slap on a hat
Slide on shades
To help you remember the simple advice take a look at the original ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ song on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAu5wCTEBt0 or the new version ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzA47J7QsVk
The British Association of Dermatologists runs an annual sun awareness campaign with the aim of educating the public about skin cancer and how to minimise the risks. This year they have created The World UV App which is free to download for iPhones and Android smart phones. The App lets you see what the peak UV is virtually anywhere in the world. It gives advice according to your skin type and on what sun protection you need.
The App can be downloaded completely free of charge for iPhone users from the i-tunes App store and for Android smart phone users from Google Play.
The British Association of Dermatologists website is the place to get the facts about sun awareness.
The following link provides answers regarding the use of sunscreen http://www.bad.org.uk/site/734/default.aspx
So until next month have fun in the sun and keep safe….