I don’t know if you have noticed, but it’s hot out there! With the sunshine flooding the region with highs of around 82F (or 27.7oC), this July is set to be the hottest since 2006. In true British fashion, hundreds of thousands of us are regularly flocking to beaches, parks and, backyards across the nation.
Worryingly, however, hospitals have also seen a large increase of people in A&E with heat-related problems such as severe sunburn and dehydration. As of this morning, Manchester is now on Amber health alert over baking temperatures.
We’ve all heard the horrors of what too much sun exposure can do to our skin and health: the wrinkles, the sunspots, sunburn and three types of skin cancer…
It’s important, therefore, to remember that safety first when enjoying the sun is a must. Of course, your first line of defence is a sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor), if possible, try to use one that has ‘Broad Spectrum’ on the label, protecting you from both UVA and UVB. Not sure what to use? Take a look at a few of the best sun creams according to The Independent for inspiration.
The heat can affect everyone but some may be more vulnerable than others. The elderly, especially those over 75, and young children are most affected as their skin is fragile and more likely to burn. Be sure never to have a child under 6 months old in direct sunlight.
Hydration is also necessary in defence against the sun. During summer, you sweat more, and you have to replenish the water in your body. So drink a nice cold glass of water, and try to keep a bottle with you. Another easy way of staying hydrated in the sun is eating fruits. In fact, if it is not a dried piece of fruit, such as a date, a piece of fruit is usually made up, on average, of 80% water. Try to avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
The sun’s rays are most powerful between 10am-4pm. Even if it’s cloudy, harmful UV rays can still cause sunburn. Try to seek shade during these hours.
Finally, always check your local weather forecast to give yourself the opportunity to plan ahead to reduce the risk of ill health from the heat.
For further information, here’s an NHS Leaflet on other useful ways to stay safe in the sun.