Following a Status Yellow high temperature warning being issued by Met Éireann, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is reminding farmers and their families to protect their skin.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland with almost 13,000 cases diagnosed each year and this number is rising rapidly.

The HSE noted that, in most cases, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

The executive’s Healthy Ireland SunSmart campaign aims to help people to build skin cancer awareness into their daily routine, especially between 11:00a.m-3:00p.m from April-September when the intensity of UV radiation from the sun is greatest

Met Éireann said that there will be “exceptionally warm weather” across the country on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (July 17-19).

Temperatures are set to range from 25-30° in general, with a possibility of the mercury hitting 32° in some areas during Monday. The solar UV index is expected to be high.

The HSE has advised farmers and their families to follow the Healthy Ireland SunSmart ‘5 S’s’ to protect their skin and avoid getting sunburned:

  • Slip on clothing that covers your skin such as long sleeves, collared t-shirts;
  • Slop on sunscreen on sun-exposed areas using SPF minimum 30+ for adults and 50+ for children which has high UVA protection and is water-resistant. Re-apply regularly. Sunscreen cannot provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade;
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat;
  • Seek shade such as sitting in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight, especially between 11am and 3pm. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight;
  • Slide on sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes.

Dr. Blaithin Moriarty, consultant dermatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin said:

“Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun can damage DNA in your skin cells and cause skin cancer.

“So if you’re planning on being out in the sun this summer we are encouraging everyone to take action to enjoy the sun safely by following the simple Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s,” she said.

The HSE also advised people to be mindful of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can be particularly dangerous for older people, young children and more vulnerable groups.