Spring is here! And with it, comes the sun. Getting out in the sun does wonders for our mental wellbeing, improving our mood and energy levels. The days are longer, making it a great excuse to enjoy a nice evening walk, or getting more time in with family and friends.
However, during the months of September and April, the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels in New Zealand are at their highest, especially between the hours of 10am – 4pm. It is important for all New Zealanders to protect themselves from the sun during this time, but even more so for those who may be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Some medications, including chemotherapy, increases the skins sensitivity to the sun. Meaning the risks of skin damage, increases significantly. The same applies with radiation therapy, where the affected skin area, is extremely sensitive to UVR.
Staying hidden inside all summer is not a whole lot of fun, and enjoying our summer is something we do well as kiwis. The ‘Slip, slop, slap and wrap’ message, is hopefully familiar to most. But as a friendly reminder, we would like to encourage everyone to protect your skin this summer.
Slip into some sun protective clothing such as a shirt with a collar or long sleeves, and trousers. Also seek shade whenever possible.
Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen, 20 minutes before you intend to go out in the sun. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you are swimming, or sweating a lot.
Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
Wrap on some sunglasses
Have a safe summer everyone!
Hayley, Cancer Society Health Promotion Adviser