Stay safe in the sun

Stay safe in the sun - tube of sun protection cream

What would we all find to talk about if it wasn't for the unpredictable mix of 'British' weather?

Remember that just because the sun isn’t shining it doesn’t mean that you’re safe from the sun’s harmful rays.

 Health experts from Brentwood and Basildon CCG  are offering safety advice to help all residents stay safe in the sun.

Sunburn doesn’t just happen when you’re on holiday. You can burn when you least expect it. Sitting in the garden, walking the dog or tending the garden are just a few activities that can catch you off guard, even if it’s cloudy or cool.

With more than 2,000 people a year dying from malignant melanoma it’s even more important to take precautions.

A moderate amount of sunshine is recommended for all of us. It provides essential vitamin D, which we need for good health, to improve our mood and to help promote better sleep. But too much sun can be damaging. So, protecting ourselves from the sun not only prevents painful sunburn but also significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Sun safety advice:
  • Even if it’s cloudy or overcast you can still burn, so make sure you apply sun screen before you go out. Take it with you so you can top up throughout the day
  • The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm, so try to avoid exposing your skin to too much sun during these times
  • Make sure you apply a sunscreen that protects you against harmful UVA and UVB rays. A sun protection factor [SPF] of 50 gives the best protection
  • Cover up with loose clothing, such as a baggy t-shirt with sleeves. Your shoulders and neck are the most common areas for sunburn. A floppy hat with a wide brim will also help to shade your face and neck and sunglasses will protect your eyes. But be sure to check they meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the "CE" mark

Minor sunburn is best treated at home by gently sponging with cool water and applying soothing after sun or calamine lotion. Your local pharmacy can advise on the best over the counter treatment to help ease symptoms and reduce inflammation.

If you feel unwell or have any concerns about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area, have blistering or swelling of the skin, chills, dizziness, sickness or a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above, call NHS111 - available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just dial 111 and you’ll be put through to someone who can tell where you can go for help.

And remember, if you notice any changes to moles or unusual skin growths make sure you speak to your GP.

Find more information on how to keep safe in the sun here