Sunday 25 September 2016

Ireland gets enough sunshine to cause skin damage on most days

Published 30/04/2015 | 13:05

Even on cloudy days the UV levels in Ireland are high enough to damage skin
Even on cloudy days the UV levels in Ireland are high enough to damage skin

Ireland gets enough ultraviolet from the sun to cause skin cancer throughout most of the year, the Irish Cancer Society has warned.

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New figures from the charity show that the UV index posed a risk of skin damage in nearly 83 per cent of the days between April and September.

The ICS analysed UV levels across Ireland and found the risk was highest in southern counties, such as in Cork, where it found UV level strong enough to damage skin 95pc of days.

Meanwhile in Galway and Limerick, skin damage was possible in 163 days out of the 181 analysed.

The lowest figure were seen in Dublin, with just 147 days of potentially skin cancer causing UV levels, representing over 81pc of the days between April and November.

“Most people think they don’t need to take care of their skin when in Ireland but the truth is very different. Even on cloudy and cool days UV levels in Ireland can be high enough to damage skin and increase skin cancer risk," said ICS cancer prevention officer Rosemary Scott.

Ireland has the highest reported incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in Europe she warned, saying the largest increase in cases was found in young people who live in affluent urban settings.

“In recent years young city dwellers, with intermittent sun exposure, have been seen to be more at risk and greater numbers are presenting to their doctor with skin cancer each year. If you are outdoors watching sport, doing the gardening or just sitting in the park, you need to take care too and not let UV rays catch you out.”

“Skin cancer can be prevented in nine out of ten cases by protecting the skin from over exposure to UV rays… and we just want people to ask themselves, what can I do to protect my skin and be safer in the sun?"

On average, Ireland records some 10,000 new cases of skin cancer each year.

The Irish Cancer Society is encouraging the public to follow the steps of the SunSmart Code for the best protection. 

The SunSmart Code:

Seek shade: When UV rays are at their strongest - generally between 11am and 3pm.

Cover up: Wear a shirt with a collar and long shorts, and a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.

Wear Sunglasses: Make sure they give UV protection.

Newborns: Keep babies under six months out of the sun.

Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen with SPF 15 (SPF30 for children) or higher.

Check the UV index: – Visit www.cancer.ie/uvindex.

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