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Sun safety

Sun safety
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5 tips that will keep you safe in the sun

The damage the sun does to your skin today can result in skin cancer years down the line. While travelling you will want to protect your skin from sunburn. Here are Canadian Travel Clinics’ tips to help you do just that.

1.       Got your sun kit?

Plan ahead before you set out for a sunnier climes. Your packing list should include:

  • sunscreen to protect your skin
  • sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • clothing to cover up with
  • hat with a wide brim

Research the climate and don’t get caught out. Plan your day so that you will be out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.

You dehydrate much quicker in the sun so bring a reusable water bottle to fill up from a safe source throughout the day.

2.       Extra protection

Some groups of travellers should take extra care in the sun. They include:

  • children
  • people with fair skin
  • people with fair or red hair
  • people with a tendency to burn rather than tan
  • people with lots of moles
  • older people
  • people with a family history of skin cancer

Read more about The Government of Canada’s advice about sun and heat safety for travellers.

3.       Slap it on

Sunscreen is vital for avoiding sun damage. Aim to wear a cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 – or 30 for children and those with fair skin – but the higher the better. Opt for a product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen does go out of date, so check your bottle before you leave home. Put on your sunscreen about half an hour before you go out. Be generous and cover all areas that will be exposed to the sun. The instructions on the bottle or tube will tell you how much to use. Reapply regularly – be warned that sun lotion washes off so you’ll need to reapply after swimming.

4.       Cover up

Your scalp will still be exposed to the sun unless you wear a hat. One with a wide brim will shelter your face from those harmful rays.

Your eyes are vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays, so sunglasses are an important piece of kit. They will also stop you squinting.

If you’re prone to burning it’s not a good idea to expose more of your skin than necessary so choose a lightweight garment to throw over yourself on the beach and opt for caftans, loose-fitting trousers and long sleeves. Keep in the shade as much as possible.

5.       Care for kids

Children have delicate skin that is particularly vulnerable to the sun. A children’s sunscreen is specially formulated to be kind to young skin while providing a high SPF. If your children are not up for wearing a hat or sunglasses, you’ll have to keep them in the shade, particularly during the hottest part of the day. Make sure they drink plenty of water and remember to reapply their sunscreen after swimming. Babies shouldn’t be exposed to the sun at all.

If you’ve got more questions about keeping safe in the sun, make an appointment with a travel health nurse for tailored advice and information.