Saigon sun poses skin cancer risks

By Nguyen Quy   March 26, 2019 | 07:26 pm PT
Saigon sun poses skin cancer risks
A motorbike driver uses a raincoat shield to get through the Saigon street at noon. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The ultra violet index in HCMC reached alarming levels Tuesday afternoon, prompting experts to sound skin cancer warnings.

Data from Weather Online, a U.K.-based meteorological service firm, showed that the city’s UV index hit the "very dangerous" level of 11 Tuesday afternoon and was set to reach the "extremely high" rate of 12 Wednesday. This is a level where people, especially children and babies, can suffer eye damage, overheating and dehydration after excessive sun exposure.

The UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It is designed as an open-ended linear scale, directly proportional to the intensity of UV radiation. An UV Index of between 0 and 3 is considered ‘low’, and above 11 is deemed ‘extreme,’ with radiation that could burn skin and damage eyes within 20 to 30 minutes.

Trinh Ngo Binh, a dermatologist in the city, warned that such high UV levels could accelerate skin aging and pose more several health risks like skin cancer.

He advised people to avoid direct exposure to sunlight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and to wear sunscreens, sunglasses and brimmed hats, among other measures if they have to go out under the scorching sun.

Last month, the UV Index in Vietnam’s southern metropolis was consistently at 10 or above, indicating ‘very high’ or ‘extreme’ levels of ultra violet radiation, the Southern Regional Hydrometeorology Center reported.

The city is undergoing one of the most severe heat waves in this year’s dry season, with temperatures reaching 35-36 degrees Celsius at peak hours from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to the hydrometeorology center. Saigon’s dry season is expected to last at least until early May.

A study published in the journal Climatic Change in last September had said that Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines and Vietnam would be most affected by heat-related mortality, along with countries in Southern Europe and South America.

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