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UV levels rising rapidly as daylight saving arrives

UV levels rising rapidly as daylight saving arrives
24 September 2011

The arrival of daylight saving is a reminder to New Zealanders that ultraviolet radiation (UV) levels are rising rapidly.

Laurianne Reinsborough of SunSmart says it’s tempting, with the arrival of warmer spring weather and the start of daylight saving, to get out and spend more time in the sun.

“But while temperatures are still quite low, UV is already strong enough to cause sunburn if we don't take care.

“Sunburn is a big concern, because it is linked to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Over 300 New Zealanders die from melanoma every year, even though it’s largely preventable.”

Dr Richard McKenzie, Principal Scientist Radiation with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), says the level of UV increases rapidly as the sun’s elevation increases, with the most rapid increase at the time of the spring equinox, 21 September.

“It means the UV is going to be significantly more intense at the end of September than at the beginning of the month, at exactly the time when people start to be outside more because of warmer days and the start of daylight saving.”

Dr McKenzie says even at this time of year, UV levels over most of the country are above the level where we need to protect our skin.

Laurianne Reinsborough says it’s easy to enjoy the warmer weather and longer days and still be safe.

“Between 10am and 4pm, during the daylight saving months, remember to ‘slip, slop, slap and wrap’ – slip on a shirt or into the shade, slop on plenty of broad-spectrum SPF30+ sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.

“It is especially important to never let your children get sunburnt. Sunburn in childhood increases the chances of melanoma later in life.”

For advice on choosing a sunscreen that will help to protect you from the sun, visit your local community pharmacy.

© Scoop Media

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