Here in Australia, we have been blessed with the most amazing sunshine all year round. It gives us our bright sunny beaches, breathes life into our crops, and tops up our vitamin D as we bask in its glow on a day at the beach but what we don’t see could kill us. Masked behind its seemingly innocent frame is harmful radiation that leads the global charts on causes of skin cancer.
We often shrug it off as being good for our mental health and a necessary source of vitamin D but our time in the sun is much deadlier than we think. One million Australians will get checked for skin cancer each year and of all Australians, two out of three will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70. More than 2000 Aussies will die from skin cancer each year. These are some frightening facts and it is vital that we are well informed on the matter.
Whether you are in Australia or another part of the world, sun safety should be one of the first things on your checklist when spending any amount of time outside. Looks can be deceiving; as UV rays are invisible to the naked eye and strong enough to penetrate cloud cover, just because it is cloudy outside does not mean that we are safe. In fact, you are just as likely to tan or burn on a cloudy day as you are on a sunny day.
To be certain, make sure to check your local weather app or website for the day’s UV index. Anything between 0 and 3 is considered low, 3-6 moderate, 6-8 high, 8-11 very high and anything over 11 is considered extreme. When outdoors for any more than a few minutes, make sure to use an adequate combination of sun protection measures for your safety. Even a few minutes in the sun is enough to cause permanent cell damage.