Be sun safe this summer, say Ontario doctors

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With hot and sunny weather forecast for much of the province this weekend, Ontario’s Doctors want to remind people to practice sun safety and protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Ultraviolet (UV) exposure and sunburns are major contributors to skin cancer. Skin cancers account for more diagnoses of cancer than lung, breast, and prostate combined – and skin cancers can kill. Children are particularly at risk, as sun exposure at a young age is strongly associated with development of skin cancer later in life. Babies younger than six months should not wear sunscreen or be exposed to direct sunlight as their skin is especially sensitive.

Dr. Virginia Walley, President, Ontario Medical Association, says: “The harmful effects of the sun are avoidable if we remember to minimize our exposure. The fact is that UV exposure, whether it is from natural sun or tanning beds, is a proven carcinogen that contributes to the development of skin cancer including the deadliest form, melanoma. But don’t let that stop you from going outside and being active – just be sun smart and be sure to protect your skin – especially the skin of children.”

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Ontario’s doctors want to remind everyone about the importance of protecting your skin. To learn more, a downloadable fact-sheet about sunscreen protection and SPF is available here:

To ensure you and your family are protected, follow these simple tips:

  • Try to limit the time you spend directly in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Staying in the shade, or under awnings, umbrellas, and gazebos are great ways to stay out of the sun and still enjoy the warm weather;
  • Wear broad-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses;
  • Dress in light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts or long pants to protect skin;
  • If you are going to be in the sun, remember to apply sunscreen liberally and often. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen and forget to reapply. In general, SPF 30 is a good all-purpose sunscreen for an active day outside and the minimum SPF recommended for skin protection;
  • Alter your diet if you are concerned about not getting enough vitamin D – dermatologists suggest this is much safer than increasing sun exposure or not using sunscreen. – CNW
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