News

Sun Safety with the Health Promotion Unit and Male Uprising Guernsey

Tuesday 15 July 2014

It's been a hot and sunny few months in Guernsey and now the holiday season is here the Health Promotion Unit has joined forces with Male Uprising Guernsey to spread a sun safety message. Together they are urging islanders to protect their skin from the sun and to get any skin concerns checked out by their GP.

This year the Health Promotion Unit has recruited a new campaigner to help people understand the sun safe message. Louis the Lobster will be making an appearance at school sports days, beaches and shows in July and August.

'Louis the Lobster will catch people's attention and we hope our friendly crustacean will help people to understand the importance of sun safety. The lobster's bright red colour should serve as a good reminder of what we DON'T want our skin to look like after a day out and about,' says Di Matthews of Guernsey's Health Promotion Unit, who has organised the campaign.

Being safe in the sun is particularly important in the Channel Islands. Incidence of skin cancer is high here, yet by taking a few simple steps it is almost entirely preventable.

Louis the Lobster's sun safety tips

  • Use a broad-spectrum sun cream with a minimum of SPF15;
  • Apply plenty of sun cream at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every few hours and always after swimming;
  • Cover up with cool clothing or stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is hottest;
  • Wear a hat.

Remember that only 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day is sufficient time for most light-skinned people to get enough vitamin D.

Parents should also remember to take extra care of young children and keep newborns out of the sun. 'If children are spending a lot of time in the sea, do take extra care to reapply sun cream frequently and we'd encourage everyone to make a hat part of their sun protection routine,' states Di. 

The campaign will also help to raise awareness and understanding of skin cancer and urges islanders to check out any unusual skin marks or moles that have changed or grown in size.

The ABCD Rule

'The ABCD Rule can help people to remember to check their skin for signs of change,' explains Di.

  • Asymmetry - two halves of a melanoma may not look the same;
  • Border - edges of a melanoma may be irregular, blurred or jagged;
  • Colour - the colour of a melanoma may be uneven, with more than one shade;
  • Diameter - many melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter, the size of a pencil eraser.

 Other signs of skin cancer include: 

  • A new growth or sore that will not heal;
  • A spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts;
  • A mole of growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs.

 If you notice any of these changes, get it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

The campaign has the backing of Guernsey's male cancer charity - MUG. 'The campaign messages are very much aligned with our own,' explains MUG's founder, Trevor Kelham. 'We want people to take care in the sun and also get any mole or skin concern checked out as soon as possible. Like all cancers, early detection of skin cancer will make a big difference to the treatment and outcomes. We're lucky to live on a beautiful island and everyone in Guernsey enjoys being outdoors and these simple steps could make a big difference.' 

The Lobster Diary 

You can catch Louis the Lobster around the island over the summer. Here are just a few of his public engagements:

Venue/Event

Date and Time

 

 

Art on the Beach

Vazon

Sunday 13th July

11am - 4pm

 

 

Amherst Junior School Sports Day

Tuesday 15th July at 1.15pm

 

 

Town Carnival

21st - 25th July

 

 

Beach Carnival Pembroke, Vazon and Herm

5th, 6th and 7th August

 

 

 

North Show

20th and 21st August

 

 

West Show

12th,13th and 14th August

 

 

Torteval Scarecrows

26th and 27th July

 

 

Vale Earth Fair

24th August