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Staying safe in the sun

Top tips to help you stay safe in the sun.

Whilst many of us like to enjoy the sun and hot weather, we should make sure we do it safely and remember certain groups of people are more vulnerable than others to the effects of heat or ultraviolet radiation. Extreme heat can force the body into overdrive as it tries to stay cool through perspiration and evaporation.

Sun safety with CancerResearchUK

NIVEA SUN and Cancer Research UK have come up with three top tips to help people enjoy the sun safely:

1. Spend time in the shade if your shadow is shorter than you. 

If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong. During the UK summer, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm

2. Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses when the sun's strong.

Wide brimmed hats or foreign legion style caps are best. A wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved top or maxi dress will not only help protect your skin but are also the height of summer style!

3. Cancer Research UK recommends you use at least factor 15 sunscreen with a high star rating. 

Sunscreen rubs off easily if you sweat, swim or change clothes. So whether you're in the UK or abroad, when the sun is strong remember to apply generously and reapply regularly

Also remember:

  • Don't get caught out at home

The sun can be strong in the UK as well as abroad, so it's not just when you're on holiday that you need to think about protecting your skin in the sun. And you don't need to be sunbathing to get sunburn; plenty of people get sunburn when out and about playing sport, shopping or gardening

  • Bring a bottle

Keep a handy-sized bottle of sunscreen in your handbag (Cancer Research UK recommends at least SPF15+) so that you'll always have some to hand for parts of the body you can't cover up with clothes. That way you won't get caught out on days when you're out and about and the sun is strong. Make sure you reapply regularly and use a generous amount

  • Protect your kids

Young skin is delicate and easily sunburnt. Make sure your children are wearing t-shirts and wide-brimmed hats when out in strong sun and cover any exposed areas with sunscreen.  It's a good idea to encourage them to have breaks in the shade for a game or a cool drink, particularly between 11am and 3pm (in the UK summer) when the sun is usually strongest. If you're using a buggy, attaching a parasol is a useful way of keeping your children cool and protected from strong sun.

Cancer Research shadow rule

Cancer Research Applying sunscreen

Advice for older people from AgeUK

Older people in a heatwave

We all love the sunshine, but it's important to remember that when we get older too much sun and heat can be dangerous. Check out our top tips and stay well when it gets hot.

  1. Check the weather forecast regularly and stock up on essentials such as food, water and medications so you don't have to go out if a heatwave strikes.
  2. Don't sit or work outside during the hottest part of the day. If you do need to go out, find some shade.
  3. Choose clothes that help you stay cool such as light-coloured, loose cotton clothing.
  4. Drink plenty - at least 6-8 glasses a day. Choose water and fruit juices rather than drinks with caffeine in them. Remember, alcoholic drinks can make dehydration worse.
  5. Eat normally even if you aren't hungry. Fruit and salad are good as they contain a lot of water which will keep you hydrated.
  6. Don't let your skin redden or burn. If you're outside for more than 10 minutes, use sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 15 with four or five stars.
  7. Don't ignore symptoms of dehydration or overheating such as muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness, weakness, or vomiting. Find a cool place to sit, loosen tight clothes, drink plenty of water or fruit juice, and sponge yourself with cool water. If you're having difficulty or your symptoms persist, call your GP or NHS 111 for advice.

The Age UK vision is for a world where everyone can love later life. We believe that living longer should be celebrated and everything we do is designed to change the way we age for the better and enable everyone to be part of the solution. Together, we can help everyone make the most of later life.

For more advice visit Age UK.

Further information is available in the Heatwave Plan for England 2013 from Public Health England.

UV app from the British Association of Dermatologists

The free  World UV App has been created by the British Association of Dermatologists in partnership with the Met Office to provide you a free daily UV forecast for over 10,000 locations worldwide.


The Met Office is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

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