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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.

NIVEA SUN and Cancer Research UK have compiled a list of top tips to encourage you and your family to enjoy the sun safely.

Mix it up

When the sun is strong, it's important to use a combination of shade, clothing and Cancer Research UK recommend at least factor 15 sunscreen with a high star rating to protect yourself - and that's whether you're in the UK or abroad

Spend time in the shade

Everyone loves to enjoy a bit of sun during the summer but if it's strong it's important to spend some time in the shade as well. Use the shadow rule - if your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong. In the UK this is most likely to be in the summer between 11am and 3pm. Make sure you take some breaks in the shade, such as eating your lunch inside, sitting under a parasol or resting in your home or hotel room. If you're on holiday, you could also visit an indoor museum or gallery to cool off and have a rest from the strong sunshine.

Don't get caught out at home

The sun can be just as strong in the UK as abroad so it's not just when you're on holiday abroad 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 recommend 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.

Use clothing

Wearing a t-shirt and a hat when the sun is strong is really important. There are some really great outfits that not only help keep you protected but keep you cool and look great too. A wide-brimmed hat and kaftan or long-sleeved top or maxi dress will not only keep you covered up but are also the height of summer style!

Protect your kids

Young skin is particularly delicate and easily sun burnt. 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 alternate their time in the sunshine with 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 the sunshine

Advice for older people from AgeUK

Most of us look forward to a 'good summer', but high temperatures and humidity can present a risk to health - especially for older people.

Age UK's free leaflet  Staying cool in a heatwave has helpful tips on protecting yourself from the heat and how to recognise heat-related illness, as well as the importance of sun exposure and vitamin D.

Here are some top tips for staying cool this summer.

  • Stay inside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid afternoon.
  • Use sunscreen of factor 15 or above, applying it generously and topping up regularly.
  • When travelling, always carry a bottle of water.
  • Limit activities like housework and gardening to cooler times of the day.
  • Wear loose, light-weight, cotton clothing.
  • Drink lots of fluids and eat more cold foods, especially salads and fruit, as these contain a lot of water.

More 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.

Related pages

  • UK forecast
    Latest forecasts for regions around 7000 locations

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