PREPARE to have the air-conditioning pumping and the ice blocks within reach as the first hot spell of the summer arrives in Leeton shire.
Summer officially kicked off on Saturday and Mother Nature has wasted no time getting into the swing of the season, with the mercury expected to start climbing from Wednesday.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is predicting Wednesday’s temperature to reach 33 degrees, followed by 35 on Thursday, 37 on Friday, 38 on Saturday and 36 on Sunday.
Showers are expected on December 10, but the heat will remain with the forecast set at 36 degrees, which will only feel warmer if the rain and humidity arrives.
The BoM’s climate outlook for summer predicts warmer than average days and nights are likely for almost all of Australia for December to February.
Development towards El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean is continuing, with outlooks suggesting El Niño conditions are likely through the summer months.
However, El Niño typically has a weaker influence on rainfall in southeastern Australia during summer than it does in winter and spring.
While the all-important weather forecast for Christmas Day isn’t yet available, but according to the 28-day long-range forecast there could be a high chance of rain on the day.
However, as residents will know, this is subject to easily change.
With the warm weather here, the Cancer Council has moved to clarify some of the myths surrounding sun protection.
1. Sun damage is not possible on windy, cloudy or cool days
FALSE: You can get sun damage on windy, cloudy and cool days. Sun damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature. A cool or overcast day in summer can have similar UV levels to a warm, sunny day. If it’s windy and you get a red face, it’s likely to be sunburn. There’s no such thing as “windburn”.
2. A fake tan darkens the skin, protecting the skin from the sun
FALSE: Fake tanning lotion does not improve your body’s ability to protect itself from the sun, so you will still need sun protection. Some fake tans have an SPF rating but this should not be relied on for continued protection.
3. Sunscreen is not necessary when using cosmetics with SPF
FALSE: Unless cosmetics are labelled with an SPF30 or higher rating, you should wear additional sunscreen under your makeup if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period. For longer periods of time in the sun, use a separate sunscreen and reapply it every two hours – not just once in the morning.
Be aware that most cosmetic products offer either no protection or protection that is much lower than the recommended SPF30.
4. People with olive skin are not at risk of skin cancer
FALSE: People with olive skin can get skin cancer too. Regardless of skin type, exposure to UV radiation from the sun and other artificial sources, such as solariums, can cause skin to be permanently damaged. People with skin types that are less likely to burn can still receive enough UV exposure to risk developing skin cancer. Care still needs to be taken in the sun.
5. You can stay out longer in the sun when you are wearing SPF50+ than you can with SPF30+
FALSE: No sunscreen is a suit of armour and sunscreen should never be used to extend the amount of time you spend in the sun.
Though it may sound like there is a big difference, SPF50 only offers marginally better protection from UVB radiation, which causes sunburn and adds to skin cancer risk. SPF30 sunscreens filter about 96.7 per cent of UV radiation, SPF50 sunscreens filter 98% of UV. Cancer Council recommends applying a sunscreen that is SPF30 or higher before heading outside, every two hours, after swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
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