Keeping our whānau, young and old, safe this summer

Registered Nurse Te Rina Murphy points out that SunSmart principles apply to everyone but we need to pay special notice of our pakeke like Nanny Sue and youngsters like Zenny (4) this summer.

Protecting ourselves from the power of the sun, regardless of our ethnicity, is so important. In Aotearoa 90% of melanoma skin cancer is caused by sun exposure. Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri’s Registered Nurse Te Rina Murphy urges us this summer to pay special attention to the elderly and the very young when it comes to being SunSmart.

Registered Nurse Te Rina Murphy points out that SunSmart principles apply to everyone but we need to pay special notice of our pakeke like Nanny Sue and youngsters like Zenny (4) this summer.

Keeping hydrated is essential. “Our pakeke (elderly) can be quite relaxed with drinking water. Most prefer a cup of tea or another type of beverage. But water is best and we
need to encourage them to drink water regularly,” she explains.

Babies and tamariki can also dehydrate quickly. Signs of dehydration include urine colour. “If it is light, kei te pai. If it is dark and smelly then that is a sign of dehydration.
Headaches can also be a sign of our bodies being dehydrated,” says Te Rina.

She suggests making it fun by adding fresh fruit and herbs to adjust the taste and appearance. “Freezing fresh fruit in ice cubes and putting them into glasses or drink bottles
can get our babies interested and liking water. Choosing water as their preference and create a healthy habit.”

Make sure you slip, slop, slap and wrap between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Keeping covered up with a T-shirt, sitting under shade, wearing UV protectant sunglasses, a hat and making sure that we’ve got sunscreen on are key to protecting ourselves and our whānau from the sun. “If baby is in his/her pram, put a cover over it and face the pram into the shade. If you’re buying new sunscreen, get one that is 50 + SPF. This is the best protection level available.”