Share article:
Share article:

Warning: Here comes the sun, and here comes the sunburn

Photo by 邱 严 on Unsplash

The summer months in Belgium were, let’s face it, a bit of a washout. But the situation in September is likely to be better, forecasters say.

At the same time, we’re advised to take that as a warning rather than a piece of good news.

“There is of course a very great desire to get out in the sun after all that bad weather,” dermatologist Thomas Maselis told the VRT.

“But our skin is not yet well-protected. Normally at the end of a good summer you have already had some UV light, your pigment cells have become active and you are tanned to a certain extent. That is less the case now. If you sit in full sun now, you run the risk of getting sunburn.”

And don’t be fooled into thinking the September sun is weaker than the sun in July and August. Everything depends on the UV index.

That goes from zero to 12; anything less than 3 requires no protection. That’s the kind of sunlight we experience in winter.

From 3 to 5 you should use some protection on exposed parts – the index has nothing to do with temperature. Even in late autumn when you can only sit outside with a jacket, the UV index could be higher than expected.

Any decent weather report will give an indication of the UV index. The Royal Meteorological Institute report for today, for example, cites a UV index of 4.8, described as ‘moderate’ and remaining unchanged until next Saturday.

That level requires protection, especially for those with pale and sensitive skin and obviously, levels over 5 require more.

Dr. Maselis offers some handy advice: look at the length of your shadow.

“In general, the sun is relatively safe if your shadow is longer than your stature. Then the sun’s rays have to pass through the atmosphere, which filters it for a long time. If your shadow is shorter than your stature you always have to protect yourself well. Here in Belgium you can call the sun relatively safe right now about at 2 am and 2 pm.”

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...
Namur Marathon relaunches after two years on hold
The next edition of the Namur Marathon will take place on April 24, 2022, its organisers announced on Friday, as they also opened registrations. ...