Stay safe in the (unpredictable) British summer

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Even if you are not travelling abroad, it is important to take care of your skin when you are out and about this summer. You can burn in the UK, even when it’s cloudy.

Sunburn can be very painful and potentially dangerous, it can also increase your chance of getting skin cancer so it is important you take steps to protect yourself and your family, especially young children and babies whose skin is very sensitive and delicate.

Spend time in the shade when the rays of the sun are at their strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October. Remember, it does not have to be bright sunshine and you can still burn on cloudy days.

To stay safe, make sure you:

spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm

make sure you never burn

cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses

take extra care with children

use sunscreen of at least factor 15

Remember, a suntan does not protect your skin and there are similar health risks associated with sunbeds and other UV tanning equipment.

The Teenage Cancer Trust recently discovered that worryingly nearly 2/3 (61%) of young people aged 13-24 have avoided using sunscreen in order to get a better tan.

Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, Medical Director at NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said while everyone should take care in the sun, it is especially important for young people, children and babies.

“It’s the damage done to your skin when you’re young that could lead to skin cancer developing in later life, so it’s vital to understand the dangers and protect yourself from the sun’s rays which can be dangerous even when it’s cloudy.”

If you do get burned:

· Sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply soothing aftersun or calamine lotion.

· Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn.

· Seek medical help if you feel unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

For more advice on avoiding sunburn and staying safe in the sun speak to a pharmacist or visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx.