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Sun Safety

Sun Burn and Sun Stroke

Short term overexposure to sun can cause burning. The skin becomes red, hot and painful. After a few days the burnt skin may peel. A cool shower or bath and soothing creams such as calamine lotion will help. Paracetamol will help with pain. A mild steroid cream may be advised by a pharmacist or doctor to reduce inflammation in the skin. 

If vomiting, fever and headaches occur this may be due to sunstroke. If this occurs make sure you have plenty to drink to prevent dehydration. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will help to ease headaches and fever. Consult a doctor if it does not quickly settle.

How can I protect skin from the sun?

Cover up

Cover up the body as much as possible when you are out in the sunshine:

Use factor 15+ sunscreen (sunblock) liberally

You should apply sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. Be sure to cover areas which are sometimes missed such as the lips, ears, around eyes, neck, scalp if hair is thinning, hands, and feet. You should not think of sunscreen as an alternative to avoiding the sun or covering up. It is used in addition. No sunscreen is 100% effective and it provides less protection than clothes or shade. Ideally:

Take special care with children in the sun

All people of all ages should protect their skin, but it it is even more vital to protect children. Although skin cancer is rare in children, the amount of sun exposure during childhood is thought to increase the risk of developing skin cancer in adult life. Therefore, take extra care with children, using a high factor sun screen, hats and long sleeved clothes, and keep babies out of the sun completely.

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Mercer's Medical Centre is part of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn