Have fun in the sun - safely

People are being urged to protect themselves from the sun.

Public health officials are urging residents and holiday makers in Devon to enjoy the current summer sunshine safely.

The warning comes in light of statistics which show Devon has some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the UK.

There are almost 250 cases of malignant melanoma per year and 40 related deaths.

However, about four in five cases of skin cancer could be prevented through avoiding overexposure and staying safe in the sun.

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Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The current warm sunny weather makes us all feel better, and has a beneficial effect on our health and wellbeing, as well as on the local economy.

“However, it’s important to make sure we enjoy the sun safely by avoiding sunburn, covering up, wearing a hat, seeking shade, and using at least SPF 15 sunscreen.

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“It’s also essential to protect children, as their skin is delicate and very easily damaged by the sun. Children who get sunburnt could be at an increased risk of skin cancer later on in life. Keep babies under six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.”

And after several years of washout summers, people are being warned not to forget the dangers of burning, by forgetting to protect themselves from the sun.

Dr Tony Downes, Consultant in Dermatology at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, said: “‘Binge-tanning’ – short periods of intense UV exposure, can increase the risk of the most serious type of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

“Burning badly, even just once every two years, can triple the risk of malignant melanoma.

“You need to take extra care if you have fair skin that burns easily, lots of freckles, moles, a history of sunburn, and a family or personal history of skin cancer.”

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