How to stay safe in the sun
Published: 26 June 2018 | Categories: Healthcare
This summer, make sure you’re aware of ways to keep safe during the blistering heat that’s currently sweeping the nation. Whilst it may be nice to sit outside and tan, the repercussions of not following some of these tips aren’t so nice as staying out in the sun too long can result in getting sun burnt. Here a few tips for all of the family:
- Know your timings: In the UK, people should take precautions in the midday sun especially, from March to October – the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. During this time period, you should avoid spending time in the direct sunlight but instead choose to spend time in the shade to avoid getting sunburn. However, to keep safe, wear sunscreen, cover up appropriately and make sure to take extra care with children, the elderly and pets.
- Keep hydrated: Make sure you’re constantly hydrating yourself whether that’s with water or diluted fruit juice, make it your goal of the summer to constantly keep yourself hydrated. If you’re travelling this summer, pop some cold water bottles in a cool bag for when you’re feeling the effects of the hot weather. Be sure to stay away from alcohol, caffeine or drinks in high sugar as these are not the best beverages for the summer.
- Shield your body: Keep an eye out when you buy your sunscreen to ensure that the label states its sun protection factor (SPF) is of at least 15 and that it has at least a four-star UVA protection. When it comes to sunscreen, you can never be too safe, always check the label. This applies to bottles you may already have hidden away, sunscreen should not be used past its expiry date and whilst typically, sunscreen has a shelf life of two to three years – it’s always best to be safe and check. It’s important to cover your body in the right amount of sunscreen as most people don’t apply enough. If sunscreen is applied in a thin manner, the amount of protection will be limited. Even if your sunscreen says “water resistant”, apply once more if you’ve been swimming as towelling and sweating can result in your sunscreen being rubbed off.
- Cover yourself: Ditch the shorts and instead opt for trousers or long skirts in close-weave fabrics that don’t allow sunlight through, alongside a loose, long-sleeved cotton top as these clothing options will provide sun protection. Don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat to ensure that your face, neck and ears are protected! When it comes to sunglasses, wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to the eyes as not having proper eye protection can result in a temporary yet painful burn to the surface of the eye. Be sure to check that your pair carries the CE mark (you can check the label) and that children’s sunglasses meet the British Standard too.
- Prevent heat exhaustion: Ways of preventing heat exhaustion include keeping hydrated by drinking cold drinks, having a cold bath or shower, loose clothing, avoiding extreme exercise and alcohol. These tips also help prevent hydration. However, be sure to keep aware for the signs of heat exhaustion are usually the same with adults and children; children may become floppy and sleepy. Some signs include: having a headache, dizziness and confusion, a loss of appetite and feeling nauseous, excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin, cramps in the arms, legs and stomach, a fast pulse or fast breathing, a temperature of 38C or above and intense thirst. If you believe someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, follow the four steps linked on the ‘Heat exhaustion and heatstroke’ page: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/
- Dealing with sunburn: If you or a family member do catch the sun and result in becoming sunburnt, a few tips to erase the pain and treat the sunburn is to sponge the skin with cool water, after doing this – soothe with after sun or calamine lotion. You can take medication to help ease the pain as painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.
Summer in the UK can become very hot quickly, be sure to know your tips for keeping you and those around you safe this summer.