With the cold short days and long dark nights, we all know we're missing the feeling of the warmth on our skin, but now it's official - You NEED a sun holiday and quick!
Seven leading groups including Cancer Research UK, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society have issued a joint statement making it clear that little but frequent exposure to the sun is vital to maintain Vitamin D levels.
Unfortunately, the sun in Ireland is too weak during the winter months to stimulate Vitamin D production in the skin, low levels of which can put people at risk of diabetes, rickets in children, brittle bones in adults, heart disease and cancer.
Adequate sun exposure during the summer may allow the body to build up stores of Vitamin D, but the groups admitted a large proportion of Irish weren't getting enough sun.
Paranoia about developing skin cancer, which has led to a possible over-use of sunscreen, is one reason, but it is also acknowledged that in Ireland, the sun's rays are only strong enough to stimulate Vitamin D production from 10 till 4, even in the summer.
Health groups are now advising people to expose their skin to the sun for 10 minutes a day, without sunscreen, to build up levels of the essential vitamin.
The experts said that a winter holiday to a sunny destination might be beneficial, though ski holidays would not bring the same benefit as skiers tend to be well-covered.
So next time you're discussing a winter break with the other half, you can tell them to book on doctor's orders.
Stock up on Vitamin D with one of our Holiday Special Offers!
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