Educational authorities support the health of children and educators’ through a whole school approach. As the UV index increases, it is appropriate to enhance the awareness on this subject. Excessive sun exposure can cause many different complications. Over exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and permanent damage to the skin. This can lead to the development of skin cancer. Adolescents and young children are at a greater risk of skin damage due to over exposure of the sun. Other effects of sun exposure include actinic keratosis and spots. It is also evident that it can result in wrinkles and premature ageing of the skin. One should be especially careful and adopt adequate sun protection with a UV index of 6 or higher.
Some tips for prevention recommended by the World Health Organisation include:
• Limit time in the midday sun The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To the extent possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
• Watch for the UV index This important resource helps you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays. While you should always take precautions against overexposure, take special care to adopt sun safety practices when the UV Index predicts exposure levels of moderate or above.
• Use shade wisely Seek shade when UV rays are the most intense, but keep in mind that shade structures such as trees, umbrellas or canopies do not offer complete sun protection. Remember the shadow rule: “Watch your shadow – Short shadow, seek shade!”
• Wear protective clothing A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for your eyes, ears, face, and the back or your neck. Sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection will greatly reduce eye damage from sun exposure. Tightly woven, loose fitting clothes will provide additional protection from the sun.
• Use sunscreen Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30+ liberally and re-apply every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors.
• Avoid sunlamps and tanning parlours Sunbeds damage the skin and unprotected eyes and are best avoided