Residents in Mid and East Antrim are being encouraged to be UV aware this summer.
Working in partnership with Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agency, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will provide regular social media updates on the ultraviolet (UV) index at locations throughout the area during June, July and August.
Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Cheryl Johnston, said: “The UV index is a vital indicator and this campaign will enable Council to alert people in the borough if they are at risk to harmful rays, and issue sun safety guidance from Cancer Focus Northern Ireland as part of the Care in the Sun campaign.
“This could include seeking shade, covering up or applying sunscreen, or for particularly high readings, avoid being outside at certain times. Updates on the UV index will be posted on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s social media channels.
“This is the third year we have teamed up with the charity on this initiative. The last two years the response from our residents was excellent and the updates really helped to raise awareness and highlight the dangers.
“The health and wellbeing of our citizens is vitally important and a key aspect of the borough’s Putting People First Community Plan.
“We want all residents to enjoy long, healthy and active lives in a Borough which offers high quality public services and health equality for all.”
The UV index is an important indicator to alert people about the need to use sun protection, with Council set to circulate warnings if there is a risk to residents’ health.
Too much ultraviolet radiation can damage your skin and eyes, and cause skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland, accounting for more than 30% of all cancers.
It is usually caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or sunbeds.
Over a 25-year period since the mid-1980s, the number of cases of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, has almost trebled. Melanoma is most common over the age of 50 years, but a significant number of people between 15 and 49 are also affected.
Research shows that 40-50% of people in Northern Ireland do not apply sunscreen at home when sunbathing or while outdoors.
Sun awareness is important – you don’t need to be sunbathing to get skin cancer; it’s overexposure to ultraviolet radiation which can cause serious damage over time. It’s important for everyone to avoid getting sunburned, particularly children.
Care in the Sun was set up as part of the Northern Ireland Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy and aims to reduce the incidence of skin cancer, and deaths from it, in Northern Ireland.