Sun, sun, warm sun. We had a great time here down under on Christmas Day with 25°C temperatures. Lazing around on the beach or by pool. Hmmm, I haven’t done that in a while.
The sun is such a paradox. It is the source of life. It is the best source of the essential vitamin D. It is also the main cause of skin cancer, most especially melanoma. Once again, this is proof that too much of a good can be bad for your health.
So while the American Heart Association and other health groups are actively campaigning for people to get out and be active in the northern hemisphere freezing temperatures, Australian advocacy groups are campaigning for people to protect themselves from the sun through the SunSmart campaign.
Australia has among the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to the Cancer Council ACT of Australia:
- More than 1850 Australians will die from skin cancer each year.
- Two out of 3 Australians will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
Coming from the cold wintery north, we sometimes are unprepared for the intensity of the sun down south. The ACT gives us the “5 S’s”- SunSmart tips that will help us remember how to protect ourselves from the sun.
Still, there are conflicts of interests that can hamper the SunSmart campaign. The Australian province of Victoria is having problems with the many summer festivals currently ongoing. The festivals are very popular among the young people but for security reason, liquids are not allowed in the festival locations and are confiscated at entry points. Thus, sunscreens are confiscated.
SunSmart manager Sue Heward appeals to the festival organizers:
“We implore festival organisers to put in place a UV policy that ensures their patrons are supplied with sunscreen, whether it be at a number of different easy-to-access locations around the festival area, and/or roving sunscreen sellers or that there is an exception to the no liquids allowed policy allowing patrons to bring their own.”