The sun in Australia is intense and caution should be taken when spending long periods of time outdoors. Any sun injury enough to cause tanning will increase your risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. If you are taking medication it is important that you consult your Doctor concerning the chances of photosensitization occurring. Photosensitization is an increased sensitivity to sun exposure, it is a possible side effect of certain medications, including certain kinds of antibiotics, heart and blood pressure medicines, antihistamines and antidepressants. Things you can do to minimise your chances of getting over exposed to the sun include:
Wear sunglasses with UV protection
- Wear a hat and a long sleeved shirt (remember that if you can see through the clothing the sun will also get through)
- Take extra precautions between 10am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are most damaging
- Apply sun-screen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15+ or more
- And don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every few hours, or more frequently if you are swimming, sweating or toweling off.
The best sunscreens have a sun protection factor of 15+ or more. There are a number of sunscreens on the market in Australia that go up to SPF 50.
It is very difficult to treat sunburn once it has occurred, prevention is the best medicine. If, however, you do end up getting burnt then it is vitally important that you do not expose yourself to further damaging rays. Stay indoors until the burning subsides or pack on the sunscreen and cover up with clothing.
Many of our beaches are quite long making it difficult if not impossible to patrol their entire length. The SLSC of Australia does an excellent job of patrolling our beaches and bathers should always listen to their advice with regard to safe swimming zones. You should always swim on patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags and cooperate with the directions of the lifeguards on duty.
Some Beach Safety Tips
- Always swim or surf at a beach patrolled by lifesavers.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest areas to swim.
- Always swim under supervision. Or with a friend.
- Read and obey the signs.
- If you are unsure of conditions, ask a lifesaver.
- Don’t swim directly after a meal.
- Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t run and dive in the water.
- Conditions change regularly, check before you enter the water.
- If you get into trouble in the water, don’t panic signal for help, float and wait for assistance.
- Use at least 15+ sun screen and wear a shirt, hat and sun screen. (30+ available)
- Float with a rip current or undertow. Do not swim against it.