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					Print two copies; put one of them in a file for further reference; put the other in a prominent position where students, staff and parents can see it.




                                                                                                                                                         To enhance the quality of education by exercising a directional influence for the prevention of
                                                                                                                                                         hazards


                                                                                                                                                                  Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun. Sun.
                                                                                                                                                         The Sun is a medium sized star at the centre of the solar system which, through sunlight,
                                                                                                                                                         supports almost all life on Earth via photosynthesis, and drives the Earth's climate and weather.
                                                                                                                                                         Ultraviolet light from the Sun has antiseptic properties and can be used to sanitize tools and
                                                                                                                                                         water. It also causes sunburn, and has other medical effects such as the production of Vitamin
                                                                                                                                                         D. The amount of UV light that reaches the Earth varies from one region to another and has
                                                                                                                                                         been responsible for many biological adaptations, including variations in human skin color in
                                                                                                                                                         different regions of the globe. The UV index is a scale from 1, indicating a very weak sun, to 11,
                                                                                                                                                         indicating an extremely strong sun The numbers are directly related to the amount of UV
                                                                                                                                                         radiation reaching the surface of the earth.
                                                                                                                                                         Exposure to sunlight for us people living in Malta is all but inevitable. Though, as mentioned
                                                                                                                                                         above, the Sun is indispensible for all living organisms, we should be very concerned with the
                                                                                                                                                         harmful aspects related with the Sun; 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer cases and two thirds
                                                                                                                                                         of melanoma cancers may be attributed to excessive sunlight exposure. Adverse health effects
                                                                                                                                                         include photokeratitis, erythema, pterygium, some types of cataracts, basal and squamous cell
                                                                                                                                                         carcinomas, and malignant melanoma.
                                                                                                                                                         Melanoma skin cancer, one of the malign types of skin cancers caused by sun exposure, is a
                                                                                                                                                         major issue in the Maltese islands. Between 10 and 12 Maltese people out of every 100,000
                                                                                                                                                         contract the cancer, with this risk doubling every 10 years. The good news with most of skin
                                                                                                                                                         cancers is that these are potentially preventable with adequate sun protection during
                                                                                                                                                         recreational and occupational exposure.
                                                                                                                                                         Every time a person is severely sunburnt their chances of getting skin cancer are seriously
                                                                                                                                                         increased. The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) radiation which can damage not only the surface

                                                                                                                                                         Philip M. Bonello                              1/5                           Health & Safety Unit
                                                                                                                                                         Educ. Officer                            Tel: 2598 2320                            DSRM of DES
of the skin but also the structures inside the skin and the function of skin, causing mutations in
the DNA of skin cells. Although sunburn may appear to heal on the surface deep down the
damage remains. It is a myth that a tan is a sign of health. Tanning is just the way in which the
skin protects itself from further damage. As well as the danger of skin cancer, repeated
exposure to the sun can make the skin look saggy, leathery and deeply wrinkled, and the
damage is irreversible! However, a survey by Cancer Research UK found nearly three-quarters
of young Britons aged 16-24 who responded want a tan despite the risk of cancer.
Dr Charlotte Proby, a leading dermatologist for Cancer Research UK, says that many
teenagers have grown up with an obsession about getting a tan on holiday. But young skin is
very vulnerable to UV radiation. "Unless young people change their habits and learn to protect
themselves properly from the sun we could be heading for a skin cancer time bomb.”
Having said that, over the years studies have shown that regular sun exposure is associated
with substantial decreases in death rates from certain cancers (not skin cancers) and a
decrease in overall cancer death rates. Recent research suggests that this is a causal
relationship that acts through the body's vitamin D metabolic pathways. Studies have show
that sunlight activation is our most effective source of vitamin D.
Occupational Hazard.
People working long hours outdoors such as construction workers, lifeguards and landscapers
are obviously at risk in terms of exposure to UV light. Therefore special consideration must be
given to these people. Our ideal body temperature is 370C; during exertion and exposure to hot
weather, the body regulates its own temperature by allowing you to sweat. However, under
prolonged work periods in the sun, the body may no longer be able to cool itself. It is here that
heat exhaustion and heat strokes can occur, posing ones health at risk. Avoiding the sun,
taking frequent breaks from the sun, staying hydrated, PPE and sunblock cream may help
protect workers exposed to long hours of work in the sun.


FACTS AND MYTHS
Myths: No sunburn can occur whilst swimming, skiing, in the shade and on cloudy days.
        Swimming - UV radiation passes through water, which reflects the sunlight giving
twice as much UV radiation
        In the shade - UV radiation can also be reflected here, increasing the risk of burning
especially if the ground is bright and pale in colour
         Skiing - If you go high up a mountain, there is more UV and less atmosphere for the
sun's rays to pass through. To add to this, snow is very reflective and the cooler air means you
are less likely to notice you are burning
         Cloudy days - Cloud is easily penetrated by UV. On bright, hazy, and cloudy days the
levels of UV radiation can be as much as a sunny day.
Facts: Case of life-threatening malignant melanoma has risen 24% in five years.
         90% of non-melanoma skin cancer cases and two thirds of melanoma cancers may be
attributed to excessive sunlight exposure. Sunburns in youth are associated with an increased
risk of melanoma (Robinson et al, 1997),

Philip M. Bonello                              2/5                           Health & Safety Unit
Educ. Officer                            Tel: 2598 2320                            DSRM of DES
        Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK (In the UK, 2,500 people die every
year from skin cancer and the number of skin cancers has doubled in just 20 years)
       In the UK, the incidence of newly diagnosed skin cancer appears to be doubling every
10 years; there were over 40,000 new cases last year. Do sunblock creams prevent skin
cancer? Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (United Kingdom) 1998, 36/7 (49-51)
        In the US, about 1 in every 100 people will develop melanoma!
        Damage from sun exposure is cumulative over one's lifetime
         Although educational campaigns have been aggressive, the desire to tan remains a
barrier for changes in behaviours, with girls being more exposed to sun through sun-bathing.
        In the UK, the incidence of newly diagnosed skin cancer appears to be doubling every
10 years; there were over 40,000 new cases last year
         It is not just older people who tend to get skin cancer; malignant melanomas tend to
affect people in their twenties and thirties. Children exposed to a lot of sun have a higher risk
of malignant melanoma as adults.
        Malignant melanomas, the dangerous skin cancers which can be fatal and can
spread to other organs, account for only 15% of skin cancers but 80% of deaths from skin
cancer.
        If skin cancer is spotted, it can usually be cured. It is important to check changes in
skin and moles on the skin.
       Sunburn permanently damages the skin, although the visible burns heal the effects can
appear as skin cancer years later. Sunburnt skin is tight, creased, red and hot.
       Damage is done to skin even before it is sunburnt so don't wait for the first signs of
redness or feelings of hotness - these appear hours after the burns have sustained.




Philip M. Bonello                              3/5                           Health & Safety Unit
Educ. Officer                            Tel: 2598 2320                            DSRM of DES
                                                                                              Why Protect children?
                                                                                              Early education re sun exposure is very important at an early age for two main reasons;
                                                                                              blistering sunburns received between 15 and 20 years of age increase the relative risk for
                                                                                              melanoma and the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma as an adult. Also, the most of the
                                                                                              lifetime exposure to the sun takes place prior to the age of 21; it is believed that over 80% of
                                                                                              exposure to the sun takes place in childhood. Hence the importance of tackling sun safety
                                                                                              education as early as possible.
                                                                                              Children are particularly vulnerable to damage from over exposure to the sun. Younger children
                                                                                              have thinner, more sensitive and delicate skin. This means that babies should not be left out in
                                                                                              the sun. Although babies need some exposure to sunlight, as a natural source of vitamin D, a
Science Fun Facts. Did you know that more than one million Earths could fit inside the sun?




                                                                                              sufficient amount can be obtained from reflected light or a few short periods in the sun a week.
                                                                                              It is not just important to take precautions whilst on the beach on holiday. It also essential for
                                                                                              children to stay safe whilst doing everyday outdoor activities. That includes break time during
                                                                                              school days; where possible, schools should provide children with shaded areas and also
                                                                                              encourage pupils to bring their own sun-protection material to school. Pupils should also be
                                                                                              encouraged to drink plenty of water before, during and after playtime. Such measures will save
                                                                                              children from potential harmful experiences such as heat exhaustion and heat strokes.
                                                                                              Parents also play a very important and influential role in children’s protection from the sun;
                                                                                              sunblock cream use in parents is predictive of use in their children. However, sadly enough,
                                                                                              this relates more to experience with sunburn than with concerns about future skin cancer risk.



                                                                                              How To Be Safe?
                                                                                              Until recently, most of the health promotion campaigns aimed at sun safety used to concentrate
                                                                                              on the use of sun block. However, nowadays efforts are more focused on education the public
                                                                                              on avoiding the sun altogether during peak sun hours (11:00am to 4.00pm). Be SunSmart –
                                                                                              slip, slop, slap, wrap
                                                                                              How can you be SunSmart?

                                                                                              Slip into a shirt – and slip into some shade, especially between 11am and 4pm when the
                                                                                              ultraviolet rays are most fierce.

                                                                                              Slop on some sunblock cream before going outdoors.
                                                                                                      • Put sunblock cream on any skin not covered by clothes.
                                                                                                      • Use an SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunblock cream. Apply it on thickly at least 15
                                                                                                      minutes before going outdoors.
                                                                                                      • Reapply: do this 15 minutes after the first application to ensure complete coverage,
                                                                                                      and also after physical activity, swimming or towel drying.
                                                                                                      •The effectiveness of even the best sunblock cream is completely dependent on
                                                                                                      whether or not it is used properly.


                                                                                              Philip M. Bonello                              4/5                           Health & Safety Unit
                                                                                              Educ. Officer                            Tel: 2598 2320                            DSRM of DES
            •Sunblock cream should be applied generously wherever the skin is exposed, taking
            care of vulnerable areas such as the ears, neck, back of the hands and feet.
            • Sunblock cream should not be used as a means of staying out of the sun longer, but
            as a way to reduce the risk of sun damage to the skin when exposure to the summer
            sun is unavoidable.

    Slap on a hat with a brim or a cap with flaps. More people get burned on the face and neck
    than any other part of the body, so a good hat is important.

    Wrap on a pair of sunglasses. Excessive exposure to the sun can damage the retina in the
    eye and cataracts may result. Sunglasses should be 100% UV-blocking and have wrap-around
    protection.



    Other essentials to be packed on days out, including school outings:

-            Water. Children, and babies in particular, can dehydrate very quickly in warm weather
    so take lots of water with you
-           Shade. If you're visiting somewhere that might not have much shade, create your own
    with a beach umbrella, cabana or parasol.
    On the basis of the available epidemiologic studies, one can conclude that public health
    efforts should not emphasize the use of sunblock creams for primary prevention of
    malignant melanoma. The necessary reduction of UV-radiation should be preferably
    ensured by staying in the shade and by wearing textile sun protection. Therefore, rather
    than the correct application of sunblock cream products etc, it is important that
    individuals are advised on their behaviour during sun hours. The problem is that studies
    have shown that knowledge, attitudes and intentions to protect oneself from the sun did
    not automatically result in effective protective measures such as avoiding the sun
    during peak hours and the use of sun block cream.
                           For further reference and/or readings contact Unit




    The information in this pamphlet is provided as an information tool on health and safety and
    does not purport to be comprehensive. The Unit makes this information available without
    warranty of any kind.

    Philip M. Bonello                              5/5                          Health & Safety Unit
    Educ. Officer                            Tel: 2598 2320                           DSRM of DES

				
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