AMA (Australian Medical Association) Vice President, Dr Choong-Siew Yong, today recommended that Australians take advantage of their holiday time and indulge in a midday snooze to stay out of the sun. "With the arrival of the summer holidays more Australians will be spending time outside in the sun. This puts them at serious risk of developing life-threatening skin cancers," Dr Yong said. "Each year 1,500 Australians die from skin cancer, and hundreds of thousands will be treated for non-melanoma skin cancer.
Dr Yong recommended that everyone stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am and 3pm, when the harmful UV rays are at their harshest."Arrange outdoor activities for early in the morning or during the late afternoon and evening, and stay out of the heat during the middle of the day," he said."The tradition of the midday siesta is a great way to rest up when the weather is too hot to be outside."When out in the sun between 9am and 5pm, Dr Yong reminded Australians to cover up as much as possible and to apply SPF30+ broad spectrum sunscreen.Five steps to staying sun-safe this summer:-- Wear a broad brimmed hat that covers the face, neck and ears-- Wear sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible-- Seek shade-- Wear wrap around sunglasses-- Apply SPF30+ water resistant sunscreen at least twenty minutes before sun exposure and re-apply every two hours.Dr Yong urged parents to reinforce these sun-safe messages with their children and to lead by example."Some people think because they have olive or darker skin they are at a lower risk, or that only childhood exposure matters," he said."This is not the case, everyone needs to be aware and protect themselves against the sun."The UV index in Australia is consistently high. Parents should be aware of the daily readings and arrange activities out of the sun for those days when the rating is very high or extreme."A UV daily index can be found on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's website at www.bom.gov.au.(Source: Australian Medical Association : January 2007.)