The weather forecast looks sunny for the next ten days and we‘ve already had a hot spell.
It’s important that you know how to stay safe in the sun – this is particularly important for those with long term health conditions, those who are older and for babies and youngsters.
The main risks are caused by not drinking enough water and overheating; which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing.
It’s important to remember that babies less than six-months-old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin is sensitive and contains less melanin than in older children. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun.
Follow these sun safety tips to stay summer safe!
Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October.
By the time you start feeling thirsty, you are already becoming dehydrated. It’s important that you drink water or non-alcoholic fluid at regular intervals throughout the day. You should aim to drink around 1.5 - 2 litres (around 8 - 10 200ml glasses) of fluid per day to stay hydrated.
Remember to drink more when you spend time in hot environments, or when you exercise or increase your activity levels. You should always carry water when travelling.
Protect your skin
You should wear sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB and make sure it has at least 4-star UVA protection. These are available at low cost from supermarkets.
Make sure you put enough sunscreen on. As a guide for an adult this means around two teaspoonful’s of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck. Reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day even if the bottle says ‘once a day’ or ‘water resistant’.
Sunscreen can rub, sweat or wash off. It’s especially important to reapply after towelling dry. And reapplying helps avoid missing bits of skin.
Don’t store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.
Check the expiry date on your sunscreen before you use it. Look for a symbol on the pot with the letter M and a number which shows the number of months the sunscreen will last once it’s been opened.
Do not rely on sunscreen alone to protect yourself from the sun. Wear suitable clothing and spend time in the shade particularly when the sun's at its hottest.
Make sure you:
• do not burn – if you do take yourself out of the sun immediately, stay hydrated, take a cool shower and moisturise. Seek advice from a pharmacist if you need to.
• cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
• take extra care with children
• NHS England recommend that you use at least factor 30 sunscreen.
For more advice on staying safe in the heat, visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/.