New Zealand has beautiful weather, especially in the summer. Long sunny days spent on the beach, tramping (hiking) in the mountains and exploring your new country is very exciting. The sun in New Zealand however is a double edged sword as the levels of UV radiation is a lot higher than in South Africa. The reason for this is that the hole in the ozone layer over the arctic is positioned in such a way that it lets in harmful UV rays which are able to reach New Zealand.
For this reason New Zealand currently has one of the highest Melanoma rates in the world. In the past decade Melanoma rates have jumped 14 percent in New Zealand with almost one Melanoma related death per day.
Although 70 percent of Melanoma cases occur in those 50 years or older, it is commonly believed that the causes of Melanoma can be traced back as far as your childhood. In other words overexposure to the harmful UV rays in your youth can cause Melanoma later in life.
This means that we need to protect ourselves, and especially our children now.
The way we do this is to slip, slop, slap, wrap and slide. HAHA, let me explain:
Slip : Slip on a shirt. This protects your upper body. Even when swimming, you are still being burnt by the sun.
Slop : Slop on 30+ protection factor sunscreen. The higher factor the better. Remember that you do still tan with the sunscreen on, it just blocks the harmful UV rays. Always re-apply after you come out of the water, and don’t forget to apply to your hands, feet and ears too.
Slap : Slap a hat on your head to protect your face. A broad rim hats does the best job.
Wrap : Wrap your eyes with some sunglasses.
Slide : Slide into the shade during the hottest time of the day (11am to 3pm)
Don’t underestimate the sun in New Zealand. The sun is harsh and strong in South Africa, but most of us could still lie in the sun most of the day without any sunblock and not give it a second thought. It’s not like that here. Just 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen on and you know all about it.
You have moved to New Zealand to give your family a better, safer life. Now keeps them safe from the sun too.