Global warming is not a myth any more. Average temperatures are on the rise in the warmer seasons.   Weather patterns have changed dramatically  over the past 2 decades as well. My hubby remembers getting drenched by storms every single day in Spring / Summer on his way home from school. I myself have been in Brisbane for over 40 years, and we used to get storms  virtually every afternoon.  Over the years,  storms started decreasing in frequency until now we can go a week or ten days before getting one. Most Australians know that UV causes cancer but 1 in 4  think if it is cloudy, there is no need to worry about protection. They are so wrong!    Queensland,  in particular,  has one of the highest rates of Melanoma in the world.  Did you know that projected numbers of melanoma deaths for 2019 will reach over 1900?  Every single one of these will be an Australian, maybe even someone you know. Yet, it is not only  Melanoma that I want to alert you about. Daily  exposure to  UV radiation   causes sunburn, loss of elasticity and premature aging of the skin,. Lesser known   problems are eye damage, eyelid cancers, liver spots, and Keratosis.   Kids are not immune to these issues, either, no-one is. So what can we do about this issue? The Cancer Council’s  SLIP / SLOP / SLAP / SEEK / SLIDE  is still the best way for people to remember what to do. They recommend doing the entire 5 step program if UV levels are going to be over 3. Slip on Protective Clothing Slop on a  SPF 30+ Snscreen (broad-spectrum and water-resistant) Slap on a broad-brimmed Hat Seek shade Slide on Sunnies There is also an app called SunSmart that can be downloaded. So, do these measures work, you ask? Yes they do, but the numbers of people dying each year from Melanoma continues to rise. (Melanoma deaths in Aus. Since 1968see photo of  graph, Courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald) What can you personally do about your family’s protection? Follow the program as often and as far as you can. UV rated Fabrics are expensive, but ordinary opaque clothing will provide some protection. Sunscreen is expensive and needs reappplication every few hours. But, it is not always appropriate to smell of sunscreen, nor would you want to in all situations. Use a Hat, yes, it must be broad-brimmed all the way around otherwise your neck and ears are still exposed to UV.   And, Gentlemen, if you shave your head due to thinning hair or baldness, you have a much-increased risk of skin cancers on your head as you get older.   So, don’t forget the Hat or the sunscreen or the Umbrella! Sunglasses should always be polarised lenses to protect your eyes and surrounding skin. Shade can be under a leafy tree which is also cooler, indoors if nothing else is available , or you can use an Umbrella.  If you can only do your daily walk at a certain time, an Umbrella rated to 50+ is an excellent way of protecting yourself. Did you know that an ordinary Umbrella will protect you from up to 77% UV rays, as long as it is opaque. DO NOT BUY CLEAR PVC UMBRELLAS!   They do nothing to protect you or your family members from UV radiation. But, an  anti-UV umbrella rated to UV  Protection rating 50 +  is  designed to protect you from up to 99% of all UV radiation, and this includes reflections from sand, water, city streets etc. (JAMA:  Dermatology : June 2013) Emory University study
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