A study by a leading university has found that Australians are getting more sunburned than ever before.
Key points:Researchers found that 1 in 4 Australians had sunburns last year, up from 0.8 per cent in 2014A significant proportion of Australians had one or more severe sunburn episodes in the past 12 monthsThe Australian Bureau of Statistics found that more than one in four Australians had at least one severe sun burn in the 12 months to March, up more than five times the national averageThe researchers, from the University of Adelaide, said Australians were getting more than ever sunburn-related injuries in recent years, as the world’s population continues to grow and sunburn rates continue to rise.
“We’ve always had the highest number of severe sun burns in Australia, we’ve always experienced more than any other country in the world,” said Dr Anna Lefebvre, from U of Adelaide’s School of Public Health and a leading researcher in the study.
“But in recent decades the number of serious sunburn events has increased, especially in recent summers.”
The researchers found that 0.4 per cent of Australians were currently suffering from a severe sunburnt condition.
“This means that in the last 12 months there were almost two per cent more severe cases of severe burns than the previous 12 months,” Dr Lefevre said.
“For example, the rate for the first quarter of 2018 was 4 per cent, and it increased to 7 per cent the following year.”
The findings were published in the medical journal The Lancet, and were supported by the Australian Government.
Dr Lefewre said she hoped that the study would spark discussion about the causes of sunburn and the role that information technology could play in improving the care of Australians with severe sun exposure.
“There’s so much more we can do to make sure people with severe burns are getting the right treatment and getting the correct care and getting proper care that’s why we’ve been involved with the [National Information Technology Assessment] since it was first launched,” she said.”[It’s] one of the most important issues we have to address to get the best outcomes from technology and information technologies.”
Dr Lesebrove said the Australian government was currently considering a number of ways to improve the care and management of Australians who had severe sun injuries.
“I think there’s a really strong need to understand what causes sunburn in Australia and what it means to the people in these areas, to know how to manage it and to have the appropriate technologies in place to prevent and treat it,” she added.
“If we do get these answers, I think it would be really helpful to get those answers to inform the way that we treat people in the future.”
For more information on the sunburn study, visit the University’s website.
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