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Be safe in the sun say health commissioners

After a long, grey winter, the return of some sunshine is more than welcome for many of us. However, getting too much sun and spending too much time in the heat can have a serious impact on your health. Amongst other things, it can result in sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer.

Health commissioners are reminding Sefton residents to take care when enjoying the sunshine over the next few months, whether they are home or away.

The hot weather during the summer can also be dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. The following tips will help you stay safe in the hot, sunny weather:

  • Clothing, sunglasses and hats are your first protection from the sun, especially when enjoying the water in the sunshine. A wide brimmed hat will help keep your face and neck in the shade
  • Wear a high factor sun cream and keep reapplying generously throughout the day
  • Spend the hottest parts of the day in the shade where possible, particularly if you have fair skin
  • Drink plenty of fluids in the sunshine
  • If you have a respiratory condition, make sure you have your inhaler on you at all times, as the hot weather can inflame your symptoms
  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hot outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat
  • Have cool baths or showers and splash yourself with cool water
  • Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool
  • Plan, to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

Susanne Lynch, a pharmacist and head of the medicines management team at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “It’s really important that you protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. Even on cloudy days, you can still get a sunburn.

“Make sure you always have sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above on any parts of you that are exposed to the sun, your pharmacist can advise on sun screen and sell this to you over the counter. You should also wear a hat that shades your face, ears and neck, and loosely fitting clothing to cover up your arms, legs and chest to stay cool.

“It’s especially important that elderly people, young children and people with long term conditions, in particular respiratory conditions, stay safe in the heat. I recommend that you take breaks in the shade. This will not only help protect your skin from the sun but will ensure that you don’t overheat and get dehydrated.”

Susanne added: “If you do get sunburn, you can help relieve the soreness by applying an after-sunlotion and you can take some ibuprofen or paracetamol to reduce any pain and swelling. All of these can all be purchased at your pharmacist.

“If you have a more severe burn – skin that is badly blistered and swollen – you should seek medical help by visiting your local pharmacist, calling NHS 111 or booking an appointment with your GP.”

For more information on sun safety, visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/sunscreen-and-sun-safety.

You can find tips on how to cope in a heatwave by visiting www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather

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