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Tips from the Canadian Cancer Society about Shade from the Sun, Protecting Children from the Sun and Sunscreen Use

Not all shade is created equal

Most people know that when spending time outside, it is important to wear sunscreen. But even while wearing sunscreen, it's still important to play it safe and seek shade from the sun.

Much of the UV radiation we receive is indirect – redirected by particles in the air and by reflective surfaces such as sand and water. Shade is the best way to protect you and your family.

"Creating shade is one of the most effective ways to help reduce the risk of sun overexposure," said Sylvia Leonard, Senior Director, Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. "This includes creating shade around your home as well as in open spaces such as parks and beaches."

Aside from natural shade, stand-alone structures such as tents and gazebos are an easy and cost-effective way to add shade to a garden area. Many stores sell gazebo and tent kits at a reasonable cost. Building an awning or using a large umbrella to cover decks and porches are also easy and cost-effective ways to create shade.

When at a park or beach, create your own shade by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, 100% UV protection sunglasses and light, loose-fitting clothing that cover your arms and legs. And bring a large umbrella, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. – when the sun is at its strongest.

For more information, contact the Society's Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333 or visit www.cancer.ca


Show your SunSense: protect your children

Every summer, Kelly Fitzgerald's five-year-old son and four-year-old daughter love to spend time outside. But she, like many other parents, is conscientious about protecting them from the sun – especially since research suggests that exposure to the sun's rays during early childhood is the most harmful. So, she doesn't let them out without slopping on the sunscreen and slapping on a hat.

"It's part of our routine. The kids know that before going out they have to put on a hat and put on sunscreen. And I let them pick out interesting hats to make it fun," said Fitzgerald, from her Peterborough home. "And I make sure I put sunscreen on myself so the kids know that I lead by example."

To protect you and your family from the sun, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends:

• Slip on light, loose-fitting clothing, slap on a wide-brimmed hat and slop on sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours. If children are sweating heavily or playing in or near water, make sure to use a waterproof sunscreen and apply it more frequently.

• Apply sunscreen before putting on bathing suits to avoid burns to the tops of thighs and chest.

• Keep babies out of direct sunlight and protected in a covered stroller, under an umbrella or in the shade. Arms and legs should be protected with light, loose-fitting clothes.

• Avoid being in the sun when its rays are most intense between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Enjoy play locations that include shade, and in open areas such as beaches, bring an umbrella to create your own shade.

• Remember to apply sunscreen on cloudy days because the sun's rays are still harmful.

• Be a good role model. If you practice sensible sun habits, your children will too.

For more information about protecting your family from the sun, contact the Society's Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333 or visit www.cancer.ca

 

Make the most of your sunscreen

Sunscreen is one word most people know but how you apply it is key to whether it will be effective in protecting you from the sun's harmful rays. Although no sunscreen offers complete protection, many people don't apply enough sunscreen to get its full sun protection factor (SPF) benefits.

"You can enjoy healthy activities while in the sun but it's important to be generous in applying sunscreen," said Sylvia Leonard, Senior Director, Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. "Effective protection means covering all exposed skin with sunscreen."

Sunscreen contains substances that provide a barrier between your skin and the sun's ultraviolet rays. These substances help reduce the risk of burns, premature aging and pre-cancerous lesions that can lead to skin cancer.

To make the most of your sunscreen, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends the following tips:

• Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen for both ultraviolet A and B rays with an SPF 15 or higher. Look for products with the Canadian Dermatology Association's logo and ask a doctor or pharmacist for help choosing the right one.

• If you have skin that burns easily and tans poorly, light coloured eyes and fair or red hair, choose a sunscreen with a higher SPF. The more likely you are to burn, the higher the SPF you will need.

• Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before you go out to allow the active ingredients to soak into your skin. It should be reapplied generously and often (every 2 hours), especially after swimming or sweating.

• Don't forget your ears, nose, neck and any bald spots, as these are areas where skin cancers most often occur.

• Your lips need protection too. Use an SPF 15 sunscreen lip balm and reapply when needed.

• Remember to apply sunscreen on cloudy days because the sun's rays are still harmful.

For more information on SunSense, call the Society's Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333 or visit www.cancer.ca.

- News Canada



Tips for Making Summer Safe from Safe Kids Canada - Summer Safety Checklist

The Hazards of Heat and Tips for Keeping Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Safety News - Beginning Summer Vacation With Safety Basics - ComEd Offers Summer Safety Tips to Families

Pools and Parasites: Keeping Your Child Safe - The Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (CDHNF) Warns Parents about Dangerous Waterborne Bacteria and Parasites Peak During Late Summer

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Other Safety News See: 

CPSC Warns about Pool Hazards, Reports 250 Deaths of Young Children Annually - Federal Agency Launches Drowning Prevention Initiative, Holding Public Hearings

Don't Swim With Shocks - CPSC, American Red Cross Warn of Electrocutions in Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas

Danger of Entrapment in Automatic Security Gates

Safety News - Barbecue Tanks and Charcoal Grills - Press Release from Consumer Product Safety Commission

Biking Safety Tips

Sun Safety Tips

Tips for Making the Most of Summer

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