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New tech trial hitting schoolies

A new technology is being trialled at this year’s Schoolies in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of UV exposure and encourage young Queenslanders to practise sun safe behaviours.

Schoolies will have the opportunity to use a UV camera to check how effectively they apply sunscreen, try a new skin cancer prevention virtual reality experience in which they fight cancer cells in the body and participate in an Australia first trial.

Preventive Health Branch Executive Director Kaye Pulsford said a UV detecting silicon slider that changes colour when exposed to UV has been integrated into this year’s official Safer Schoolies wristbands.

“We know sun safety is the last thing on the minds of Queensland’s latest school graduates as they celebrate the end of school,” Ms Pulsford said.

“That is why we partnered with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women to explore the opportunities to increase schoolies’ awareness of UV and encourage them to use sun protection to reduce their risk of sunburn.  

“We know during schoolies, attendees will be spending a lot of time outside in extreme UV rays, we hope that this visual prompt will increase their awareness of Queensland’s high UV environment and encourage them to make sun protection part of their daily routine.

“Highlighting sun safety this Schoolies is so timely as it is also National Skin Cancer Action Week.

“Melanoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among young people aged 15-29 years, which is why it is so important we get the message to our young Queenslanders to be sun safe every day.”

Ms Pulsford said schoolies will be able to opt-in to participate in a research study that looks at the impact the UV detecting slider had on their approach to being sun safe.

“Even a single sunburn can increase your risk of cancer, which is why it is so important we work towards understanding effective ways to improve young people’s use of sun protection and sun safety behaviours,” Ms Pulsford said.

QUT public health sun safety expert Dr Elke Hacker said just a couple of sunburns leave the skin vulnerable to Australia’s most common cancer, skin cancer, and its deadly form, melanoma.

“We want to encourage young people to take responsibility for their health and find out what we can do to support and encourage them to practise sun safe behaviours,” Dr Hacker said.  

“That is why we will invite schoolies to take part in a simple study to find out if the UV detecting sliders actually encourage and remind them to take sun protection measures.

“Those who decide to take part in the study will receive a free tube of sunscreen and, when Schoolies is over, participants will receive an evaluation survey to assess their self-reported sun protection habits, sunburn and sunscreen use.”

The Sun Safe initiative is a partnership between QUT, Queensland Health and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.

ENDS

Last updated: 16 November 2019