When It’s Not A Good Thing To Be No.1

When It’s Not A Good Thing To Be No.1

Recent research released from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has shown that Australia once again has the unenviable title of having the world’s highest rates of invasive melanoma, just edging out our New Zealand counterparts. 

Invasive melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, which is capable of spreading to other parts of the body.  The most recently available data shows that in 2014/2015 about 50 in every 100,000 Australians were diagnosed with invasive melanoma, compared to about 47 out of every 100,000 New Zealanders. 

There is actually some good news in that the rates of invasive melanoma in Australians has plateaued, most likely as a result of decades long public health campaigns around skin cancer prevention and staying safe in the sun. However, it’s a timely reminder for us not to become complacent about the damaging effects of UV radiation on our skin.

Earlier this year the peak bodies responsible for sun safety advice in Australia and New Zealand announced they have adopted a new policy on sunscreen use, recommending that people apply it daily as part of a regular morning routine.

Associate Professor Neale said there was now clear evidence on the benefits of daily sunscreen use.  “Up until now, most public health organisations have recommended applying sunscreen ahead of planned outdoor activities but haven’t specifically recommended applying it every day as part of a morning routine,” she said. Associate Professor Neale continued that in recent years, it has become clear that the DNA damage that causes skin cancer and melanoma accumulates with repeated small doses of sunlight.

 Importantly though the group cautions us against relying on sunscreen as our sole line of defense. Dr Stephen Shumack from the Australasian College of Dermatologists said it was important that Australians still used other forms of sun protection when they were planning to spend longer amounts of time outdoors.  “The recommendation to apply sunscreen every day is to protect people against the little bits of incidental sunlight that most of us get each day, and that cause damage over time,” he said. “But people need to remember that sunscreen isn’t a suit of armour. If you’re planning outdoors activities – like playing or watching sport, going fishing or working outdoors – you should also seek shade, wear a hat, protective clothing and sunglasses, and reapply your sunscreen every two hours.”

The groups was also careful to consider community concerns regarding regular use of sunscreens. Terry Slevin from the Public Health Association of Australia said  “There is concern in some parts of the community about allergic reactions, nanoparticles, hormonal effects and not getting enough vitamin D from using sunscreen,” he said. “There is consistent and compelling evidence that sunscreens are safe, and reactions occur in a very low proportion of the population. “Importantly, clinical trials have found that people who use sunscreen daily have the same levels of vitamin D as those who don’t.”

It is recommended that precautions are taken when the maximum UV level is forecast to be three or higher - and for many of us here in Australia that means all year round.  So it might be time to make being Sun Safe a habit for you and your family in 2019. 

The information above was sourced directly from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute website. For more information visit their website directly, or visit the following link to view the full articles . Australia's Melanoma Rates Once Again Highest In The World.  and Peak Health Bodies Recommend New Approach To Sunscreen Use

Summer Beach Safety Tips

Summer Beach Safety Tips

Heading into the summer months millions of Australians will be heading to one of our 1200 glorious beach locations.  With 258 rescues on Australia beaches already this season, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some basic tips to stay safe at the beach this year

Although Australian beaches may look amazing, they can be unpredictable and hide some dangers that every visitor should be aware of. Here are some tips to ensure you enjoy your visit to the beach and stay safe!

1. Always swim between the red and yellow flags

Always swim or surf at places patrolled by lifesavers. When you see red and yellow flags on a beach, it indicates that there is currently a lifesaving service operating on that beach. The lifeguards have chosen a section of the beach that is best for swimming and they will closely supervise this area. Lifeguards pay more attention to the area between the red and yellow flags than any other part of the beach

2. Read safety signs

Before you go into the ocean read the safety signs. This way you are aware of any warnings or dangers on the beach such as dangerous currents and blue bottles and jellyfish. Lifeguards are another great source of beach safety information.Lifeguards are highly trained and very knowledgeable about beach safety and conditions. When you arrive at the beach look for and identify the lifeguards. Feel free to ask them about the day’s conditions, as well any additional beach safety advice they might have for that specific beach – because every beach is different.

3. Always Swim with a Friend 

To avoid trouble in water, always swim with a friend or family member so you can keep an eye out for each other. If you need a lifeguard’s assistance, raise your arm in the air and wave it from side to side. Save your energy by floating on your back and staying calm.

4. Blue bottle jellyfish stings

If stinging occurs, wash off the tentacles with water, or pick off with fingers. Place the affected area in hot water for 20 minutes. If you don’t have access to hot water a cold ice pack is also effective. Do not rub sand, pour soft drinks or urinate over the sting — it doesn’t work.

5. Rock Fishing

Rock fishing can be very dangerous. If heading out to fish always tell others about your plans and check the weather. Always wear a lifejacket and appropriate footwear. Try and fish in a group and plan an escape route in case you are washed in the water. Do not jump in if someone is washed in — use a rope or something that floats to rescue them. Call Triple Zero in an emergency.

6.Rip currents

Spot a rip by looking for deeper darker water, fewer breaking waves and sometimes sandy-coloured water. If caught in a rip, stay calm, float and raise an arm for attention. While floating, rips can flow in a circle and return you to shore. Or you may escape a rip by swimming parallel to the beach, towards breaking waves. Don’t struggle in a rip or you will become exhausted.

7. Stay Sun Safe

Remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Slide at the beach this summer.  Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going into the sun and reapply regularly, particularly after swimming. Wear a rashie and hat for extra protection.

If you get sunburn drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. If you have severe sunburn, with blistering and nausea, see a doctor.

8. Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is relatively common with beachgoers, particularly the young and elderly. Physical activity and a lack of hydration can cause weakness, nausea, vomiting and light-headedness. To treat it, stop any activity and move to a cooler environment to rehydrate with water and sport drinks. Call Triple Zero in an emergency.

9. No alcohol 

Don’t ever swim in the ocean when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and water don’t mix well

10. Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation

If you are caught without any assistance and must administer CPR follow DRSABCD:

Danger: Check for danger to yourself, the patient and bystanders,

Response: Check for response by talk and touch

Send: If unresponsive, send for help by calling Triple Zero

Airway: Open airway and ensure it is clear. If not roll patient onto their side to clear the airway.

Breathing: Check breathing. If patient is not breathing start CPR.

CPR: (30:2) Give 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. For downing – give two initial rescue breaths before starting compressions. Ensure the head is tilted back when giving breaths. Compressions should be a rate of 100-120 a minute in the centre of the chest. For infants do not tilt the head when doing breaths and use two fingers to compress chest.

Defibrillation: Attach an automated external defibrillator as soon as one is available. Continue CPR until the patient responds, it is impossible to continue, or until a professional arrives.

For more detailed information on how to stay safe at the beach this summer visit and


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