With summer underway, Dr. Robin Williams, Ontario’s Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health, is reminding people to protect themselves and their families from the sun while enjoying time outdoors.
Overexposure to the sun can lead to painful sunburns and increase the risk of developing skin cancer from harmful UV rays. It can also contribute to heat-related illness such as heat stroke and exhaustion, which can result in headaches, cramping, vomiting and fainting.
It is important to help protect those most vulnerable to the heat and sunburns, especially infants less than one year of age, children and the elderly. Children have the highest amount of sun exposure of any age group and are more sensitive to UV rays.
“With the warm weather and summer holidays here, it’s key to remember a few simple things to protect us from the sun,” said Williams. “We will enjoy ourselves a lot more if not dealing with the harmful effects of sun overexposure.”
Steps that people can take to protect themselves and loved ones from harmful sun exposure include:
- Using sunscreen – SPF 30 or higher — and reapplying at least every two hours or after swimming or sweating a lot, even on cloudy days.
- Limiting time spent in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
- Wearing the right gear, including a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and light clothing to cover the skin.
- Staying in the shade or indoors, especially during heat alerts; find air-conditioned spaces, including malls, libraries and specially designated community facilities.
- Drinking a lot of water, even before you feel thirsty.