Be sun smart this summer

2017-12-15 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDZaylin Arianna Saligram makes sure she will be protected on the beach with her sunglasses and umbrella.

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDZaylin Arianna Saligram makes sure she will be protected on the beach with her sunglasses and umbrella.

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THE much awaited summer holidays are finally here and as tempting as that lengthily busk in the sun fun or all day beach outing sounds, protective measures from the sun’s harmful effects should be first on your holiday to-do list, says Dr George Verghese from Port Shepstone Hospital.

He says while exposure to sunlight is a good source of vitamin D and has some positive effects like treating certain skin conditions, including acne, eczema, fungal infections and harmfull bacteria the negative effects of exposure to excess sunlight for prolonged periods of time are quite detrimental.

“Negative effects of exposure to excess sunlight for prolonged periods of time include premature ageing skin cancers, that is squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma as well as photo keratosis, a precancerous skin condition.

“Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause cataracts, which is a condition causing the clouding of the eye’s natural lens,” said Dr Verghese.

He said while these condition could affect almost anyone, people with fairer skins, those exposed to the sun the whole day like farmers, field workers, people who have precancerous skin lesions like actinic keratosis, melanoma and people with a weak immune system are more likely to develop skin cancer from sun exposure.

According to CANSA, South Africa has the second highest incidences of skin cancer in the world after Australia and has one of the highest incidences of melanoma worldwide.

Also at least 20 000 South Africans are diagnosed annually with non-melanoma skin cancers, and approximately 1 500 are diagnosed with melanoma.

“It is important to take note that everyone, regardless of racial or ethnic group, is at risk of getting skin cancer.

Although people with darker skins are less susceptible, because their skin contains more natural melanin that protects against sun damage, everyone is at risk from the harsh African sun,” said CANSA spokesperson Lucy Belona.

So if you are going to be in the sun this summer make sure you take the following precautions says Dr. Verghese.

“Avoid exposure to the sun in the middle of the day. Apply sun screen to all sun exposed areas, SPF 30 or higher. Wear protective clothing. Avoid sun sensitising medicines this includes certain antibiotics.

“And finally check your skin regularly and report skin changes to your clinic sister or doctor.”

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