Sunburn is often associated with the summer days when people laze in beaches for hours, exposing themselves to cancer-causing rays of the sun. New research, however, has shown that Australians were more likely to get sunburned or damage their skin by doing chores and recreational activities at home.

Studies have revealed that sunburns are linked to increased risks for deadly skin cancer. A person's odds of getting melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer that affects about 132,000 individuals worldwide, doubles with at least five sunburns.

A new research from the Cancer Council Australia has revealed that half of weekend sunburns can be blamed on recreational activities done at home such as gardening, mowing and doing other household chores.

The study surveyed more than 6,000 Australians about what they were doing when they got sunburn at peak UV times over the summer of 2013-2014.

Of those surveyed, only 29 percent were sunburned while they were at the beach. Twenty-one percent were sunburned while engaging in outdoor sport or active recreation, and half of the respondents said they were burned while on passive recreation or doing chores around the home such as having a barbecue, reading or gardening.

The study marks the first time that day-to-day activities had been identified to be a significant sunburn cause. The research has implications in that people tend to avoid the beach during peak UV times and use sun protection if they do go swimming to reduce their risk of getting skin cancer but many do not observe caution when doing other activities that similarly expose themselves to the harmful rays of the sun.

"Most of the campaign materials that have been delivered in previous years have been focused on coastal activities and beach activities," said Craig Sinclair of Cancer Council Australia. "But people are not automatically thinking of sun protection when they go and do some gardening, or mow the lawn. So our message needs to get more sophisticated in terms of where sunburn is likely to occur."

To reduce skin cancer risks, experts recommend using clothing that protects as much skin as possible from exposure to sun's rays, using SPF30+ sunscreen, using hats and sunglasses and seeking shade. Indoor tanning is also discouraged as this has also been linked to increased likelihood for skin cancer.

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