HSE Press Release: Friday, 23rd August 2019
Enjoy the sunshine safely this weekend
Check the UV Index, even when it’s cloudy www.met.ie/uv-index
Blue skies and sunshine are a very welcome sight, and with temperatures set to reach up to 25 degrees in some parts of the county this weekend, it is important that we protect our skin from UV rays and don’t over-expose ourselves to the sun.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main risk factor responsible for skin cancers. It is emitted naturally from the sun and also comes from artificial sources such as sunbeds. Getting too much sun can be harmful whatever your age. It exposes your skin to ultra violet radiation (UV rays) that can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. With good protection against UV rays, most cases of skin cancer could be avoided.
In Ireland, the UV index is usually 3 or above from April to September, even when it is cloudy. The higher the UV index the greater the risk of skin damage. When the UV index is 3 or above you need to protect your skin as much as possible.
Met Éireann provides a UV Index tool on their website - www.met.ie/uv-index - where you can check the level of sun protection required on any given day.
Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann explains how it works:
“The Global Solar UV index is a scale that was developed by the World Health Organisation, which measures the UV radiation level at the surface of the Earth, and gives an indication of the potential for skin damage. Every day you can check if the UV Index in Ireland is low, moderate, high, very high, or extreme, and we also include advice for the level of sun protection required on any given day. Most important to note is that the peak burn times are between 11am and 2pm.”
Prof Anne Marie Tobin, Consultant Dermatologist Tallaght University Hospital, advises:
“We all enjoy the sun and want to make the most of it before the end of the summer. But the fact remains that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland. Over 11,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland each year. This figure is expected to over double by 2045. Thankfully, most skin cancers are preventable by protecting your skin from UV radiation. So our advice is to enjoy the good weather, but take the necessary precautions for you and your family and avoid over-exposure”.
The National Cancer Control Programme has the following advice for those enjoying the good weather this weekend, and over the rest of the summer: Remember to slip, slap, slop and wrap:
- Slip on a loose long sleeved t-shirt
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat that covers the back of the neck as well
- Slop on sunscreen generously and regularly (SPF 15 or higher and at least SPF 30 for children)
- Wrap on sunglasses
The risk of skin cancer begins in childhood so parents should make sure their children stay safe in the sun. Keep babies under six months in the shade as much as possible.
For more information, visit MyChild.ie: www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/child-health/sun-safety-for-babies-and-children/keeping-your-child-safe-from-sun-rays.html
Last updated on: 23 / 08 / 2019