Community health boards co-ordinator Colleen Dowe (left), Andy Melanson and Alex Theroux from the SOAR Community Health Board look over some of the items associated with a new sun safe campaign the county’s three boards are kicking off.
Cumberland County's community health boards have kicked off a new campaign promoting sun safety.
AMHERST – Cumberland County’s community health boards are using the popular pin-up culture and the upcoming Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Music Festival early next month to spread an important message about sun safety.
The health boards have launched a campaign that includes distributing buttons with a sun safe message. The art was supplied by Alex Theroux of the SOAR Community Health Board and uses the pin-up art to remind people to stay out of the sun, cover up when outside and to stay hydrated.
“We were looking for a way to get the message out about being safe in the sun and we thought of the upcoming rockabilly festival and how pin-up art is making a comeback,” said Theroux, whose art is on the three buttons that were first introduced at the recent Strawberry Festival in Oxford. “When you look at a lot of the pin-up art it showed women who were appropriately clothed for the sun. I guess it sort of shows you don’t need to show a lot of skin to be considered sexy.”
During last year’s second Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival, one of the promotions was pin-up girls photography with various photos selected to appear in a shakedown calendar.
Pin-up photos were mass produced during the 1940s and into the 1950s and featured some of Hollywood’s top woman stars. The pin-ups later began to feature men.
Theroux said additional buttons will be distributed at the downtown artisans markets, HarbourFest in Pugwash in August and at other events across the county.
SOAR board member Andy Melanson said many people often think all they need to do is put on some sunscreen when going out in the sun when it really should be the last thing they do.
“We’re hoping to raise some awareness of sun safety and start a discussion about what you need to do to protect yourself when you’re out in the sun,” he said. “A lot of people seem to think that all you need to do is slap a little sunscreen on and you’re good to go. In fact, it’s the last thing you should do.”
The best way to avoid overexposure is to stay out of the sun, he said, but if that’s unavoidable make sure you cover exposed skin, stay hydrated (especially with water) and use sunscreen that has an SPF rating of 30 or above.
Dawn Ripley, who chairs the Cumberland Health Authority’s cancer care committee, said the initiative is a fun way to reinforce the sun safety message because there are too many cases of melanoma in Nova Scotia.
“Women in Nova Scotia have the highest rate of skin cancer in Canada and men are second to only Prince Edward Island,” Ripley said. “Anything we can do to raise awareness of melanoma and how to avoid it is a good step in the right direction.”
Ripley said the campaign is also a fun and interactive way to get the message out to the community. Along with the buttons, there will also be posters and brochures.
Next year, it’s expected there will be more buttons added and Theroux is hoping they become collectibles. Higher quantities have been printed of some of the buttons and less of others.
“We’re hoping people will do a little trading trying to find those buttons that are a little more rare,” Theroux said.