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The OIA supports Sunguarding Outdoors

16.05.23  |   Michelle Baker

With skin cancer rates rising rapidly in the UK, and those who spend a lot of time outdoors at the highest risk, sun protection awareness should be promoted throughout summer by every outdoor activity provider. To support this, the OIA supports Sunguarding Outdoors, a new campaign by the Melanoma Fund.

Sunguarding Outdoors is designed to educate and protect the health of all who enjoy an active life outdoors.  Written by leading experts and supported by the UKs leading outdoor organisations and national governing bodies, the content is accurate and highly relevant for outdoor adventurers.

The campaign features tips and specific activity advice for individuals, plus a downloadable toolkit for groups and clubs, to be displayed digitally and in print, to raise awareness of sun protection at the right time and place and encourage better habits.

The Melanoma Fund, the charity behind the campaign, is on a mission to change attitudes and behaviour.  With sunburn doubling the risk of melanoma in later life, not only is it painful and unsightly, it’s also dangerous. Incidence is however far too common in both children and adults, who underestimate the risk or simply get caught out.

Five top campaign tips include:

  1. UV radiation cannot be seen or felt, so check the UV Index daily, and use sun protection when 3 or over.
  2. Morning rain can turn into the blistering afternoon sun, so always include a hat, SPF30+, and sunglasses in your kit bag.
  3. A short stint outdoors can end up lasting all day, so get into the habit of being sun prepared before you start any outdoor activity.
  4. Sunscreen – even a once-a-day product – can wear, wash, rub or sweat off, so reapply every two hours or more often when around water.
  5. When removing clothing on a warm day, remember to apply sunscreen to all newly exposed areas of skin.

Sunguarding Outdoors also covers topics such as which SPF to select, when to replace it, using other forms of sun protection, avoiding heat related illness, moderating activity in the heat, and how to communicate this effectively – to keep everyone safe.

Andrew Denton, CEO of the Outdoor Industries Association says “Awareness around sun protection is important but it can sometimes be seen as optional, which it shouldn’t.  Sunscreen is just as important as any other form of health and safety equipment, and reminders around application should always be provided by leaders”.

Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund says “Incidence of melanoma has doubled since the ‘90s and is forecast to double again over the next 20 years. Unlike other cancers, it’s 90% preventable with adequate sun protection, which is something you can help impact, by encouraging better habits. We are delighted to be working with the OIA to push this message home to outdoorsy people on a national level, encouraging everyone to get outside, but stay sun safe”.

Activity providers are encouraged to stock SPF30 sunscreen to ensure no one is caught out. The charity makes this easy and profitable with a discounted sunscreen support service, offering tubes of or free dispensers for staff and club members, with all sales supporting the work of the Melanoma Fund.

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