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School children urged to seek protection from the sun

SIMCOE, ON, SEPT. 10, 2007 – With the new school year underway, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding students and parents that the sun’s rays can still damage skin.

“Even as the days get cooler, the sun remains strong enough to burn unprotected skin,” warned Health Unit Health Promoter Krysta Clark. “On cloudy, misty or foggy days, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can reach the earth’s surface, making skin damage a distinct possibility.”

Although a sun burn eventually disappears, the underlying damage to the skin builds up every time it is exposed.

“It can take 10 to 30 years for cancer to develop from repeated sun exposure,” Clark explained.

Children should be sent to school wearing long-sleeved shirts, knee-length shorts, and a hat with a wide brim of two to three inches that protects the neck and shields the face. Children should also wear sunglasses that block out UVA and UVB rays, are shatterproof and wrap around the face.

Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher should be worn and applied liberally 30 minutes prior to going outside. Children should be encouraged to play in the shade whenever possible.

Schools will have sun policies in place to protect children from the sun, Clark noted.

“It is never too early to teach your children sun sense,” Clark said. “Children tend to spend more time outdoors than adults and this puts them at a greater risk for getting a sun burn. We want them to be able to enjoy their time outside without endangering their health by incurring skin damage.”

For more information on sun sense, call the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 Ext. 3205 or 905-318-6623.

Media Contact:
Cathy Lanni, Public Health Inspector
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext 3205 or 905-318-6623