HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland in collaboration with Sport Ireland Campus promote being SunSmart

 HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland in collaboration with Sport Ireland Campus promote being SunSmart

Enjoy the sun safely. Be SunSmart

Sport Ireland Campus has teamed up with the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland to encourage the public to enjoy the sun safely by being SunSmart when outdoors as we continue to enjoy some good weather.

Outdoor sports and leisure activities are good for our physical and mental health, while also being fun. It can also mean being outside for long periods of time, which can increase the risk of sun damage and skin cancer. In Ireland, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is usually strongest from April to September, especially between 11am-3pm. Even when it is cloudy it is important to protect skin, as the sun’s UV rays can travel through cloud.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. When children are taking part in sports or playing and spending time outdoors it is important to protect their skin. If a child is badly sunburned more than 3 times before the age of 20, they more than double their risk of skin cancer as an adult. Protect yourself and children by being SunSmart as part your daily routine from April – September.

Frank Feighan, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy says: “People who participate in sports outdoors including sports participants, officials, coaches and spectators can spend prolonged periods of time outdoors. This results in exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, which can lead to skin damage, sunburn and ultimately skin cancer.  We can all protect our skin and enjoy the outdoors by following the simple Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s.”

Dr Katharine Harkin, Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the HSE’s NCCP says:  “You can protect your skin and enjoy the outdoors by following the simple Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s”:

  • Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible while still being comfortable. Wear clothes with long sleeves, breathable sports tops and high collars to protect your neck;
  • Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen on exposed areas of skin. Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for kids which has high UVA protection and is water resistant. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply regularly, at least every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection so should be used alongside other measures such as clothing that covers skin and shade;
  • Slap on a wide brimmed or bucket hat to protect your face, neck and ears. Baseball style caps provide no sun protection for the ears and neck, areas which are particularly vulnerable;
  • Seek shade. UV radiation from the sun is strongest between the hours of 11am to 3pm so if possible, plan outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon;
  • Slide on sunglasses. Guard your eyes by wearing wraparound sunglasses with UV protection.

Craig Filmer, Recreation and Activities Manager at Sport Ireland Campus, says:  “Throughout our summer camps, we have been promoting the SunSmart message. We are supporting our camp coaches to teach children about the importance of how to protect their skin from the sun. We encourage everyone to enjoy a healthy outdoor lifestyle while also protecting yourself and children as part your daily routine from April – September”.

Check out the SunSmart hub at hse.ie/sunsmart and #SunSmart on social media for more information and met.ie/uv-index to learn more about the UV index.

Last updated on: 31 / 08 / 2022