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Protect your skin

With National Sun Awareness Week taking place this week, the regional health department is reminding residents how they can be safe in the sun this summer.

“Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV) without protection can damage the skin and increase the risk of melanoma,” states Brian Dallaway, a public health nurse with the health department, in a news release.

“People with lighter hair may have skin that is more susceptible to damage by the sun. The more easily skin burns, the greater the risk for skin damage.”

Nearly one third of newly diagnosed cancers in the country are skin cancer, according to the Canadian Dermatology Association.

To help prevent cancers such as these, or other sun-exposure-related diseases, the region recommends seeking shade when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; apply sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher before outdoor activities, focusing on high risk areas such as the nose, ears, neck and shoulders; apply sunscreen 20 minutes before outdoor activities, and reapply at least every two hours and more often following water activity; wear clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses, pants and a wide-brimmed hat; avoid the use of tanning equipment; and check the UV Index reading daily before going outdoors.

For more tips, please call the Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729, or visit