Playing sport this summer? Make sure you stay sun smart

Whether watching or playing, St John Ambulance is urging Western Australians to be sun smart.
Whether watching or playing, St John Ambulance is urging Western Australians to be sun smart.

WESTERN Australians are being urged to look after their skin this summer, both on and off the sporting field.

Summer sports like cricket, tee-ball and athletics, can often see people exposed to the sun for long stints in the middle of the day, when UV radiation is at its fiercest.

With about 13,000 new melanoma cases expected nationally this year, both spectators and competitors are being urged to take care.

“The level of sun exposure during summer is obviously far greater than in winter which means everyone needs to take measures to protect themselves,” St John Ambulance’s Phil Martin said.

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“Unlike winter sports such as football and soccer, summer sports often require many hours or even consecutive days in the sun.

“For participants, the risk of adverse effects of sun exposure increases exponentially if they aren’t sun smart.

“The same goes for spectators, whether they are watching professional or amateur competitions.”

Mr Martin said heatstroke and sunburn were among the most common conditions caused by prolonged sun exposure.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 13,283 new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in 2016, with 1774 causing death.

While overall skin cancer rates are falling, people need to remain vigilant.

“The sun smart message is getting through however we still see too many people requiring treatment for preventable conditions that are the result of not being sun smart,” Mr Martin said.

“People who don’t take adequate measures to prevent exposure not only risk short term discomfort, but potentially much more serious consequences like skin cancer.

“If you know you’re likely to be exposed to the sun, pack a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, and make sure you wear appropriate clothing.

“St John will have a presence at many different sporting and social events during summer, so if you or someone you know requires treatment seek out a medical post immediately.”