The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have launched a new mobile phone application that provides localised information on ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels. The SunSmart Global UV app provides a searchable five-day UV and weather forecast for multiple locations and highlights the times when it is necessary to protect yourself from the sun with the aim of helping people around the world know when to use sun protection, in an initiative to reduce the global burden of skin cancer and eye injuries related to sun and UV rays.
The SunSmart Global UV app is available for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores. It offers personalized options so users can take steps to protect themselves from prolonged and excessive UV exposure, a leading cause of skin cancer and other UV-related diseases. The app allows input of national and local data streams and queries in multiple languages: it is currently available in German, Chinese, Spanish, French, Dutch, English and Russian.
“Evidence shows that overexposure to UV is the major cause of skin cancer. So it’s vital for people to know when and how to protect themselves,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. ”We encourage everyone to use the application to protect themselves and their children, and to make this a daily habit.”
The UN Health Agency (WHO) reported that in the year 2020, more than 1.5 million cases of skin cancer were detected worldwide, including both melanoma and non-melanoma cancers.
Spokesperson Carla Drysdale said, “In the same period, more than 120,000 people worldwide died from a disease that was preventable.”
It has been reported that diseases and deaths related to ultraviolet radiation can be prevented with some simple preventive measures.
These include being out in sunlight for a limited time in the afternoon, seeking shade when UV rays are intense, wearing protective hats or goggles and using sunscreen (lotions or creams), among other measures.