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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
Blue sky with bright sun

Sun Safety & UV

While it is important to enjoy outdoor activities as part of a healthy active lifestyle, it is equally important to practice sun safety. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and/or tanning beds can damage the skin and eyes, and can lead to:

  • Skin cancer
  • Sun burns
  • Skin damage (e.g. wrinkles, premature aging)
  • Eye damage

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada. UV rays are the main risk factor for skin cancer. While everyone is at risk for developing skin cancer, it is one of the most preventable cancers.

Enjoy the sun safely and reduce your risk of skin cancer by practicing sun safe behaviours all year long. Consider these general sun safety tips: 

  1. Consider the time of day. If you can, limit time in the sun when the UV index is 3 or higher, usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  2. Seek shade or make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent, or pop-up shade shelter.
  3. Cover up. Wear UV-protective clothing, or clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Wear a wide brimmed hat or a baseball cap with flaps that cover the head, neck, and ears.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and ensure the sunscreen is labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant’. Reapply when needed, especially after swimming, sweating, or toweling. Use a lip balm that contains SPF.
  5. Wear sunglasses. Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection.
  6. Seek vitamin D elsewhere. Exposing yourself to UV rays is not the best way to meet vitamin D needs, and may result in unnecessary skin damage.
  7. Avoid tanning beds, which are a source of UV radiation. Using tanning beds before the age of 35 and frequent use, increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. 

Know Your Skin.

To help protect yourself, it is important to know your skin. Most skin cancers can be treated if caught early enough. Check your skin regularly so you can detect any changes.

  • Know the location, colour, shape, and size of birthmarks/moles
  • Look for new growths on your skin
  • A sore that does not heal

When you check your skin, follow the ABCDEs of early detection: 

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Colour
  • Diameter
  • Evolution

If you notice any of the above, have a skin exam done by a doctor or other trained healthcare professional to tell you if the changes are normal or not.

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1) Our offices are temporarily closed to the public to allow us to respond to COVID-19 demands. However, phone lines remain open. The COVID-19 information line is operating 7 days a week (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All other program lines are operating Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

2) Returning travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and contact Public Health if symptoms of COVID-19 develop.

If you have returned from travel anywhere outside of Canada, you must self-isolate for 14 days and immediately contact Public Health or your local health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. Earlier this month all travellers were asked to self-isolated when they returned to Canada. Effective March 25, the federal government made this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable citizens. Each of us must make the responsible decision to follow the advice of health authorities. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.