(Australian Associated Press)
With summer on it’s way most people are looking forward to fun in the sun but it can also pose a health hazard if you’re not prepared.
As the temperature rises over the next three months, so will the number of Aussies at risk of skin cancer and food poisoning.
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda says it only takes a few minutes outside for sun damage to begin, yet people are still making excuses for getting sunburnt.
New data revealed by Prof Aranda showed Australians’ top excuse – 37 per cent – for getting sunburnt in 2016 was: ‘It was a hot day so I stayed out in the sun too long’.
The second most popular excuse was equally lame; ‘I forgot or I didn’t think I needed sun protection’.
There has also been a four per cent reduction in the number of Australians wearing hats, which equates to about 10 million Australians not using hats when out in the sun, Prof Aranda says.
That’s alarming when you think that two-out-of-three Australians will get some form of skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than 2000 will die every year from the preventable disease.
Enjoy the summer but don’t forget all five forms of sun protection – slip, slop, slap, seek (shade) and slide (on sunglasses), because anything more than a few minutes outside without these is too long, Prof Aranda implored.
“It’s important that Australians are not complacent about their relationship with the sun, we want people to enjoy the Australian lifestyle but want them to understand that sunburn and skin damage can be avoided,” Prof Aranda said.
The key advice from the Cancer Council is to plan outdoor activities near shade and remember that anytime the UV level is at three or above sun protection is required, said Prof Aranda.
There are also several tips people can follow to avoid having their Christmas and New Year’s celebrations spoiled by food poisoning.
Rachel Williams from the Food Safety Information Council says bacteria rapidly spreads in the heat and “hazardous” foods like meat, dairy, poultry, seafood and eggs should not be kept at room temperature for any longer than two-to-three hours.
The ideal place to keep these products is in the fridge.
When it comes to the traditional summer BBQ, it’s important to avoid “cross contamination” by having separate plates for the raw meat and cooked meat, said Ms Williams.
And only put a small amount of the risk-prone foods out at any one time and after a couple of hours throw them out.
“People don’t like chucking out food but it’s not safe,” warned Ms Williams.
THE TOP FIVE EXCUSES AUSTRALIANS GAVE FOR GETTING SUNBURNT IN 2016.
1. “It was a hot sunny day, so I was outside too long” (37 per cent)
REMEDY: Don’t be complacent. Seek shade, avoid outside activities during peak UV times.
2. “I didn’t think I needed protection.” (35 per cent)
REMEDY: Forget about the heat and focus on the UV level. When UV is at level three, sun protection is required.
3. “My sunscreen wore off or I missed an area when applying sunscreen.” (25 per cent)
REMEDY: Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply every two hours.
4. “I didn’t use or wear sun protection” (24 per cent)
REMEDY: Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide. Slip on sun-protective clothing; Slop on broad spectrum sunscreen; Slap on a hat; Seek shade; Slide on sunglasses.
5. “I couldn’t be bothered’ and “I tried to get a suntan”. (8 per cent)
REMEDY: A tan is not healthy. Just because you don’t burn doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk of skin cancer.
(SOURCE: Cancer Council Australia survey of 784 adults)