Holiday HealthUse your head – perch a hat on it! The sun can damage unprotected face, ears, scalp and neck.
The sun gives out a range of energy. This is called the electromagnetic spectrum, and it is made up of different forms of energy including infra-red radiation, visible light and ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR is the part of the sun’s spectrum that can cause skin damage including sunburn and in the longer term can lead to skin cancer.
The speed with which sun damage occurs depends on two things: the strength of UVR and your natural skin colour.
Temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day and night, or between coastal and inland areas.
Use this checklist to make sure you have everything needed to stay comfortable when travelling in a hot climate:
1. Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest hours, and make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids to balance the loss of body fluid through perspiration. What you drink must be safe – either soft drinks from sealed cans or bottles, or water which has been boiled;Take rehydration sachets to replace lost salts;
2. Wear a hat with a brim wide enough to shade your face;
3. Avoid sun visors, which don’t protect the top of your head from the sun;
4. Wear loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics such as linen or cotton. Light colours are reflective and therefore cooler than dark colours;
5. Pack a variety of clothing in case of sudden weather changes;
6. Protect yourself from sun and insects. Wear long-sleeved shirt and long skirt or trousers;
7. Consider wearing a T-shirt to protect yourself from the sun while swimming;
8. Re-apply sunscreen lotion frequently after swimming or exercise;Many people travel from this country in search of the sun which should be enjoyed, but overexposure can cause sunburn, leading to premature skin ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer. It is the ultraviolet rays which cause this; even in the UK they can damage your skin, and UV is much more powerful the nearer the equator you go;
9. If you want to avoid trouble – take care not to burn. It is particularly important to care for your children. Babies should not be placed in direct sunlight at all. Stay out of the sun for at least 2 hours around midday, use what shade there is at other times, and cover up with a wide brimmed hat, and tightly woven but loose clothing;
10. Protective creams suitable for your skin type can help protect unavoidably exposed parts of the body;
11. Wear sunglasses which filter UV to protect your eyes;
12. Never underestimate how ill you can become from careless exposure to the sun – there is no excuse for not protecting your children properly. Protect babies and children as their skin is more sensitive and they can easily over-heat.
The Essential Rules:
Take care not to burn. A tan may make you feel healthy, but it’s a sign your skin is being damaged and it will lead to premature ageing of the skin. And you may find that you can’t join in activities with friends because you’re in too much pain from over-indulging in the sun!
Prolonged exposure to intense sunlight (or artificial UV radiation) can be bad for all skin colours – although people with black or brown skin have a lower risk of developing skin cancer – so take the following precautions:
Shade your face to prevent heatstroke and eye damage
Take care not to burn
Shift to the shade around midday.
The use of sunbeds is not encouraged as it could lead to skin damage from ultra violet (UV) radiation. You should never use a sunbed if you are under 16, have a lot of freckles or moles, burn easily, have a family history of skin cancer or are using medication that could make your skin more sensitive.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance is that no one should have more than 20 sunbed sessions a year.
What does SPF mean?
The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how much a sunscreen protects your skin. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection. It is measured by timing how long skin covered with sunscreen takes to burn compared with unprotected skin. So, if your skin would burn in 10 minutes in the midday sun, using an SPF of two would double the time spent before burning to 20 minutes. However, you should use sunscreens to give yourself greater protection rather than to stay in the sun for longer.
Which SPF should I choose?
Choose an SPF with a factor of 15 or over. But limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. Don’t forget to apply it thickly over all exposed areas and re-apply regularly, especially after swimming. Remember areas such as ears, neck, hands, feet and bald patch!
How can I protect my baby?
Keep babies less than 12 months old out of the sun completely. Loose-fitting clothes will help keep your baby cooler, and frequent drinks will prevent him or her dehydrating. Toddlers and young children should be dressed in loose-fitting clothing of tightly woven fabric and a wide-brimmed hat. Generously apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and make sure you re-apply it after they’ve been in the water.
If you require further information or want to speak to one of our Pharmacist feel free to call us on 02476-404177.