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The sun has been shining during the holiday period, with a lot of us spending time outdoors and soaking up the rays, but it’s too easy to sit in the sun for too long and not realise the damage that can be done.
Dr Debbie Wake spoke to The Hour about how to keep yourself safe and prevent sun damage during the summer months. Prickly heat is one of the most common ailments but is easily prevented. Dr Debbie explained:
“Prickly heat is an obvious red rash that causes stinging or prickling of the skin. It happens when a person sweats more than usual and the sweat glands become blocked, trapping the sweat under the skin.
“It isn’t serious and usually settles after a few days. Soothing ointments and creams such as calomine can help. Avoiding synthetic clothing like polyester can reduce sweating and showering can also help cool the skin.”
Sunburn is common in people with fairer skin and happens when the skin is overexposed to the sun. Children are more prone to sunburn than adults due to their sensitive skin, and repeated bouts of sunburn can lead to skin cancer.
To avoid sunburn, limit the amount of time you spend in the sun and keep the skin covered as much as you can. Wearing high factor sun creams and a hat will all help in preventing sunburn.
If you do get sunburnt, keep yourself hydrated and avoid alcohol and further sun exposure. Calomine lotion, painkillers and aftersun creams can help to relieve the symptoms and in severe cases, steroid cream may be recommended.
Sunstroke is a very serious condition and occurs when the body’s temperature rises after being exposed to the sun. Dr Debbie said:
“As well as a very high fever, sunstroke can lead to the person becoming confused and hostile and they may appear drunk.
“They may complain of a headache, dizziness, sickness and chills. The person should be given plenty of water to drink and they should be cooled as quickly as possible, for example using a cool bath.”
Medical attention should always be sought if you think someone has sun stroke as it requires urgent treatment.
For more health advice and information see The Hour’s website.