I live about five minutes from the beach. Sadly I don’t get a view from my house. But! If I ever make my millions I’m talking hubby into ‘building up’ so we might get a glimpse just over the neighbour’s house and through the trees. I’m planning a little spot up there with an outdoor writing desk next to a shady Balinese palm.
It’s a good thing I have an active imagination – because people – in my mind – I am already there!
This summer I was granted the wonderful luxury of six weeks off to spend with my cherubs – thanks Boss! We ventured down to the beach with Missy’s blow up boat, a Kayak, towels, sunblock, water bottles, containers of cheese crackers and fruit, hats, sunnies, tent, umbrella, towels, togs, thongs and so forth.
For any busy mum, it is always a mission packing all that stuff up – but as all us savvy mums know – life at the beach is well – bliss! There are no dishes to stack, kids fighting over who got to the Playstation first, laundry, picking up crap from all over the house. There are no neighbours kids running down the hallway like they own my house and finally there aren’t any tapping noises coming from computers and tablets.
At the beach it’s all about my magazine and – me!
Oh, that’s right…and my kids. They’re just down there by the waters edge and they’ll be just fine…..
Hot tip: After packing for the beach – leave everything in the car for the rest of summer!
On a more serious note
I spent time packing up umbrellas, hats, sunblock and the tent for the purpose of keeping myself and my cherubs sun smart and safe.
The shocking facts
Here are shocking statistics from the Australian Department of Health about skin cancer in Australia:
- Australia has the highest skin cancer incidence rate in the world1.
- Australians are four times more likely to develop a skin cancer than any other form of cancer2.
- Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70
So slapping on sunblock should be a daily priority even when you are not at the beach! In this case, consider buying moisturiser with SPF in it to protect yourself while buzzing around during the day.
Also, you need to slap the stuff on even when it’s not sunny. You can still get affected by the harmful rays of the sun when it’s cloudy.
Here’s what you need to know about staying sun smart
Effects of the sun
Direct sun exposure increases your chances of being exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation cannot be seen or felt. This causes sunburn in the short term, which increases signs of ageing, eye damage, moles and eventual skin cancer in the long term.
I went to a skin specialist once. He was a passionate skin doctor with a heavy accent who literally starting breathing down (the front of) my neck!
He spent a good amount of time freezing moles off the part of my chest just under the neck. The part where the sun hits most – his words, not mine. Don’t worry – the stick with the freezing ice coming off it didn’t really hurt. It was just a slightly awkward and weird experience.
At the time I thought my skin Doctor was a little extreme, but in hindsight I thank the guy. He scared the pants off me about skin cancer. He told me to stay out of the sun – period. No exceptions. He said I should cover up – always. He told me to cover my neck, my arms, my legs. Everything! He even told me stuff unrelated to skin cancer. Like – ladies hands look awful if they look old and that I need to wear gloves when doing the dishes. ‘There’s nothing more ugly than a woman with dry, wrinkly hands,’ he said. ‘I don’t like it in a woman.’
OK thanks mate. It’s a good thing you’re not my husband then (digression….)
OK. So I am a writer so I spend a lot of time inside anyway, but then my Doctor told me I was lacking Vitamin D.
I was getting led down so many paths I just wanted to hit the beach and sunbathe to drown my skin sorrows!
My sun solution
So now I do a little bit of sun time for my Vitamin D (about 10 minutes of direct sun-to-skin a day) and I spend the rest of my time reading my chick mags in the shade, under an umbrella, with a hat on while I slap myself all over with sunblock.
Nice one mum.
Now back to the point of this story….
Types of skin cancers
Skin cancer appears as a discoloration of the skin, an unusual pigment or newly acquired mole or freckle. There are various conditions that are linked to skin cancer, such as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. These are the most serious of skin cancers.
Moles or other skin discolorations with a smudged and uneven outline are characteristic of Melanomas. As well as their tendency to expand quickly and noticeably, if you notice a change on your skin, be it a new mark or mole or a change in an existing one, see your doctor.
Take note of the national Slip, Slop, Slap campaigns. Organisations don’t spend millions every year on campaigns like this if they aren’t trying to help you. I’m sure these people have better things to do with their money.
Slip it on
Slip on protective clothing.
Slop it on
Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen. Do so 20 minutes before you hit the sun, reapplying every two hours. Ensure the stuff is water resistant.
Slap it on
Slap on hat—broad-brimmed, otherwise a cap with a legionnaire-style flap affixed to the back so to protect your neck and ears as well as your face and top of your head. Hell. Wear a Mexican sombrero if you heart so desires and you want to make a statement on the beach.
Find a pretty spot in the shade
Also hunt down shaded areas. For example, if you are at a family event at the park, sit under a tree. Put on some sunnies to protect your eyes (Polaroid if possible) but any pair of sunnies is better than no pair of sunnies. Plus – you will look cool and people will gravitate to the cool person under the tree.
Protecting yourself at work
While direct sun exposure is the most common cause of Melanoma, UV radiation is also found in other artificial sources, such as welding work. Assess your work environment in terms of exposure to rays. Know your rights and seek legal advise from companies like Turner Freeman (TFQ Lawyers). Their main website is here: http://www.tfqlawyers.com.au. Companies like these specialise in work-related skin cancer treatment claims and can help you assess your rights and proceed with a claim.
So I hope you have a happy summer! Just remember to get Slip Slop Slap happy with sunblock, cover up and be sun smart. You can still get luxury mum or dad time reading magazines and watching the kids building sandcastles near the water’s edge while you’re wearing sunnies and a sombrero!