Stay safe in the sun this summer

Published: 1 June 2022

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Too much sun or not preparing properly can lead to severe consequences.

As the warm summer weather approaches, it can be tempting to go outside and meet with friends, family and loved ones without thinking of what protection we may need to stay safe from the sun. Too much sun or not preparing properly can lead to severe consequences.

There are a few general things we can do to make sure that we stay safe this summer:

  • spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm, in the UK the sun is strongest between these hours during the summer
  • make sure you never burn
  • cover up with suitable clothing and wear sunglasses
  • take extra care with children
  • use at least factor 30 sunscreen.

Sunscreen can help protect against burning and skin damage from the sun. If you are unsure of what sunscreen to use, the label should have:

  • a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB
  • at least 4-star UVA protection.

It can be tempting to lay in direct sunlight. However, this can be extremely harmful. When skin has been exposed to too much sun without protection it can lead to sunburn; red, hot and sore skin. The skin that has been sunburnt can also blister, flake and swell. Sunburns can also increase our chances of getting skin cancer. If you feel unwell or are experiencing bad blisters or swelling, contact NHS 111.

If you have been sunburnt, you can treat it by getting out of the sun as soon as possible, applying aloe vera or aftersun cream, drinking plenty of water, taking painkillers if necessary and cooling the skin with a cold shower or damp towel. It is important not to pop any blisters caused by the sunburn or scratch at the burn. If sunburnt, you must do what you can to stay out of the sun so we don’t make the burn worse.

There is no safe or healthy way to get a tan. If you do have a tan, this does not protect you from getting sunburnt or being affected by any other harmful effects of being in the sun. 

By following certain steps, wearing appropriate clothing and behaving sensibly we can make sure we all enjoy the sun this summer. You can learn more tips about staying safe in the sun on the NHS webpage.

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