Issue 27

A few words on Sunburn

Sunflower-blue-SkySunbathers from the UK suffer more from skin cancer caused by the sun than otherĀ­ countries that really do have prolonged hot sunny weather. So here are some useful tips on how to avoid burning yourselves, whilst still allowing you to burn your sausages on the barbeque, and how to avoid the side effects of overcooking yourself.The following advice comes from: Cancer Research UK and other sources.

Stay in the shade from 11am to 3pm

Avoid ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun. Find shade under trees, umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, awnings, canopies or indoors. UVR is invisible and cannot be felt on the skin. It penetrates deeply into our cells causing changes that lead to sunburn, skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer.

High risk months for the UK are between May to September. Heavy cloud cover does offer protection but you can however still burn on a day when there is a thin or scattered cloud. Moreover UVR can be reflected up to 85% back from snow, sand, cement and water.

Don't burn yourself

Two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage your skin are UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and causes skin to age, wrinkle and sag. It can make you look ten years older! Scientists now believe UVA can also cause skin cancer.

xposure to UVB is more dangerous and is the major cause of all types of skin cancer. It has the most effect on the cells just below the skin surface. In as little as 15 minutes,UVB can make the skin red, inflamed and painful. This is sunburn. Sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer

What to do if you burn

If you do burn, it's very likely your skin will peel. This is the body's way of getting rid of damaged skin cells that could develop cancer. Applying lots of moisturising cream can help relieve the dryness, but cannot undo the damage already done. Drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun completely until the redness has gone.

Always cover up

When there's no shade around, the best way to protect your skin from the sun is with loose clothing, wide-brimmed hats and good quality sun glasses.

Use factor 15+

Sunscreen alone will not protect us completely from sun damage. You should not use sunscreen in order to spend longer in the sun: it should be used to increase your protection. Read the instructions as some state to put it on 15-30 minutes before going in the sun and to re-apply every 2 hours.

Sun and anti psychotic drugs

Some older type drugs do have side effects from the sun, however the more contemporary drugs do not. Ask your doctor so you understand whether you are at risk of suffering such side effects to be on the safe side and to be informed.

I have postcard size info that will go onto the ward's notice boards. Enjoy the sun this summer and the ones to come but use your head to keep yourself safe.