If you’re planning a visit to GoFest this weekend, it appears you can leave the umbrellas at home, with the prediction of a hot and sunny weekend ahead! Although this is good news for all those attending this exciting family festival, themed around sport, music, dance and fitness, the organisers are keen to ensure that everyone arrives adequately sun prepared and stays sun protected.
Although many of us are aware of the dangers of too much sun, we still underestimate the strength of the sun in the UK, limiting regular sunscreen application to hot holidays abroad. In fact, it’s in the UK that most of us get sunburn, for this very reason. The riskiest days are those that start off cloudy and end up sunny, causing us to forget to pack sunscreen or apply it when the sun pops out.
Why is this a problem? People who have had sunburn are more than twice as likely to get melanoma as those who have not and that risk is higher if you have had sunburn several times in your life. This risk is seen with sunburn at all ages, not just in childhood.
Skin cancer rates in the UK are more than 4 times higher than they were in the late 1970’s and melanoma is now the second most common cancer in people under the age of 50. With facts like these we should all review our attitudes to sun protection and help children develop healthy sun protection habits for today and the future.
The organisers of GoFest take sun protection seriously and as such have partnered with the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, who will be at the festival promoting the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, their free on-line resource, providing advice and accreditation to all those who work outdoors with children, enabling them to not only create, but implement effective sun protection all throughout summer.
When attending GoFest – or any outdoor event this summer – remember to stay smart in the sun and follow these top tips for a sun safe weekend:
1. Pack enough sunscreen (SPF30+) with you, bearing in mind you need to slather it on at least couple of times a day (which includes the ‘once a day’ brands).
2. Wide brimmed hats are the perfect way for all the family to protect vulnerable scalps, neck and ears.
3. Remember to bring along a good quality pair of sunglasses as eyes can be sun damaged over time too.
4. Plan your breaks/lunch in the shade, especially at the hottest time of the day (between 11am and 3pm).
5. Everyone should stay regularly hydrated with lots of fluids, remembering that water is the best form of hydration.
6. If children are participating in sports, ensure they drink plenty of fluids in order to cool down and replace the water lost through sweating, avoiding heat exhaustion.
7. Keep all babies out of direct sunlight.
8. You are never too old for sun protection – in fact the over 50’s are at the most at risk from melanoma – so make sure ALL the family covers up.
9. Although fair skinned people are most vulnerable to sunburn, dark skin is not immune to skin cancer and so the same rules apply to everyone.
10. There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Over exposure to the sun dries out your skin, causes age spots, wrinkle and rough patches. If you really want to get a colour…fake it!
Watch out for the team from the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code at GoFest who will be giving out bottles of Ladival sunscreen in return for a small donation to the charity!
If you are a parent or work with children outdoors, find out more about the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code by visiting www.oksunsafetycode.com or contact Michelle Baker on 07989551046. Together we can develop good sun protection habits at an early age and Blow the Whistle on Sunburn!