You Can Leave Your Hat Off!

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Cancer Council ACT does not generally recommend sun protection behaviour when UV levels are low (under 3) due to the low risk associated with skin damage at this level. In Canberra,  daily UV levels drop and remain under 3 all day, every day, in June and July and so the End of May is Hats Off Day for Canberra primary schools and early childhood services. This may assist Canberra children (and teachers) with their winter Vitamin D requirements.

Why Hats Off?

David Wild, SunSmart Coordinator at Cancer Council ACT explains that “being SunSmart is all about being smart when in the sun, this includes having a general understanding of when sun protection is and is not really required to get the full benefits of the sun yet not increase one’s personal risk of skin damage and skin cancer”.
             
During the summer period, maintaining vitamin D levels should be relatively easy for most Canberrans as only a few minutes of sun exposure to the body is required most days of the week, this is generally acquired by typical day-to-day outdoor activities - even with sun protection!  

However, during most of the Canberra winter daily UV levels drop and remain low (under 3) and so to get the full benefit of the “winter” sun Canberrans are encouraged to get outdoors during the middle part of the day, most days a week, with some skin exposed!

So, this winter escape from your desk and classroom and get outdoors during the middle of the day for some vitamin D.   

Research also suggests that being active can also play a positive role in the body’s effort to produce vitamin D. This is just another good reason why Canberrans of all ages need to get active every day.    

Cancer Council ACT also acknowledges that there will be some people in the Canberra community at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency and it is recommended that these people discuss their vitamin D requirements with their medical practitioner to determine if vitamin D supplementation is required.

Are their exceptions to the Hats Off Rule?

Yes. If you work outdoors then Cancer Council ACT still recommends daily sun protection to protect against accumulative occupational UV exposure. Likewise, if spending extended periods outdoors, venturing north or into the Alpine regions than sun protection should still be a priority. 

For more information on sun protection, UV exposure and vitamin D click here

Contact Information- David Wild, Cancer Council ACT (02) 6257 9999  

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