Sun season is here! Maximize summer fun without compromising safety with these eight shortcuts.
Eight shortcuts to safe sun
1. Don a wide-brimmed hat — Keeping hats on kids' heads can be tricky. Remember, you're being firm because you love them (and model the behavior you want to see)!
2. Wear loose-fitting, tightly knit, long-sleeved clothing — You'll be surprisingly comfortable during the dog days of summer. Some retailers specialize in apparel specially designed for UV protection.
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3. Put on broad spectrum sunglasses — More than mere fashion accessories, sunglasses play an important role in protecting your eyes.
4. Seek shade — Once you've internalized this mantra, you'll find plenty of opportunities to duck out of the sun.
5. Pay attention to the UV index — You can burn even on a cloudy day.
6. Avoid sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (peak UV hours) — Play outside in the morning and evening.
7. Take Vitamin D — Rates of melanoma — the most deadly skin cancer — are higher in cities with less year-round UV intensity. Researchers think lower levels of Vitamin D increases the risks of both sunburn and of developing skin cancer.
8. Wear safe sunscreen — This is a biggie. Check out my FAQ How to choose safe sunscreen.
We all know the sun's UVA and UVB rays are responsible in part for increasing rates of skin cancer. But you might not know that skin cancer's been rising at a rate of two per cent per year since 2000 and the incidence for first time melanoma has tripled over the past 35 years.
This may be due in part to a thinner ozone layer and more UV exposure, but the effects are compounded by other risk factors including: family history, indoor tanning, skin type, UV radiation and a history of severe sunburns (particularly in childhood).
My number one family rule: choose long sleeves, a big hat and a bit of shade whenever possible. When you need to resort to sunscreen — be sure to choose a safe option.
Tovah Paglaro, David Suzuki's Queen of Green
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