Sun Safety

Doing physical activity is not just good for your heart, but it is also good for your brain. Research has shown that the outdoors make us happy, and we tend to move more and for a longer period of time. Remember that the sun's ultra violet rays (UV) are invisible, cannot be felt, and are harmful for your skin. If you have fair skin, light blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair, and freckles you are more at risk. The risk of skin cancer later in life is increased by going outside in the sun unprotected (not using sunscreen or proper clothing) and 1 or more blistering sunburns during childhood or as a teenager.

How to protect your skin and eyes when you go outside

  • Limit the time in the sun when the UV Index is 3 or higher, usually between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, between April and September;
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled "broad spectrum" and "water-resistant." Reapply if swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Bring the sunscreen with you on your travels, stash an extra bottle or tube in your backpack so you keep it handy. Read the label. It will explain how much to apply and how often to reapply. Don't forget to check the expiry date and replace sunscreen that is out-of-date;
  • Use sunscreen lip balm;
  • Seek shade by using a UV protective tent or pop-up shade shelter, umbrella, or resting under a big tree;
  • Clothing and accessories are best at blocking UV rays. Dress in long pants and long-sleeved shirts in tightly woven fabric when you can. Dark or bright colors such as orange and red block more UV rays. Wear wide-brim hats to protect the face, ears, and neck and close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection; and
  • Signs of too much sun include having skin that gets hot and red. You may also feel tired and thirsty.

Indoor tanning

  • UV from the sun and indoor tanning devices are causes of cancer;
  • It is illegal for people under 18 to use tanning beds in Ontario;
  • Using indoor tanning devices before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%. Which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer;
  • Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of skin cancer.

Things to avoid

  • Getting a tan or sunburn;
  • Exposing yourself to UV rays to meet vitamin D needs. Use food or supplements instead.

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