Cloudless skies, brilliant sunshine and busy beaches can be rare in Ireland so when the sun is out, it is only normal that we want to get the full benefit from it!
Getting out in the sun can, of course, be good for you! It helps to raise vitamin D levels and can be good for your outlook and general health, especially if you are out doing something active. It can be a great excuse to get your family and yourself off the couch and do something enjoyable outdoors.
However, as we all know, too much sun can be harmful and there are lots of things that you can do and should do to protect yourself!
This article is only attempting to summarise the main points around sunburn and the risks associated with sunburn so please check out the links at the end for more detailed information.
Harmful effect of Sunburn
Excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburn, which can be extremely painful. Sunburn, as we all know, can lead to skin cancers in later life. Too much sun can lead to exhaustion, sunstroke and dehydration which is especially worrisome in the very young and the very old.
Using a good sun block is essential!
It should be reapplied after swimming or if you are prone to sweating a lot when the weather is hot. Special care should be taken to ensure that sun block is applied and reapplied to children regularly. There are occasionally hospitalisations due to sunburn in our children’s hospitals and these are very avoidable.
The sun should be avoided from 11 until 3 in the middle of the day and it is worth checking the UV index too. Met Eireann has a useful link for this that is easily accessed. If it is windy or you are swimming you may not notice that you are getting sunburnt so be alert to this too. If you are out and about, stay in the shade or under an umbrella.
Covering up is important! A good rash vest is a great way to protect your children or yourself from getting sunburnt. As is wearing a hat (at all ages).
If you are suffering with sunburn it is really important that you moisturise affected areas regularly with an aftersun like aloe vera, or another commercially available moisturiser.
Keeping it in the fridge can be a good idea as it is nice an cool to apply. Make sure that you are well hydrated and take a good break from the sun for a few days if you are burnt! If you have any concerns about suspicious looking moles come along to us and we can check them out for you.
If you have any queries about this or any other blog posts please contact us on 01-8461335.
- Sun health advice from the HSE
- Child safety in the sun
- The Sun & Health (NHS, UK)
- Met Eireann UV index
This post was by Dr. Niall