Everyone loves a little sun, be it from a poolside, garden or through dappled trees whilst on a bike ride with the family, but… are you caring for your body correctly?
My four children love spending time in the garden splashing about in the paddling pool without a care in the world, and we all know how easy it is to get carried away in the fun of it all. So here are a few ways to stay safe in the sun and avoid the dreaded headaches, sunburn or sun exhaustion.
How do I look after myself in the sun?
There are a few things you can do to stay safe in the sunshine that are easy to achieve and add a little fun.
1. Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
The sun is the strongest between 11am and 3pm from March to October. A great a way to combat the ‘poolside blues’ is to have a movie afternoon or an indoors picnic. Why not combine the two! Draw the curtains, pick a film and have a snacky lunch – who doesn’t love a bit of quiet time whilst munching away with snacks?
2. Avoid burning by using sun cream factor 30 and above.
Burning can cause pain, redness and/or blistering but it can also cause long term skin damage. If you have a battle to get everyone on board with sun cream application try allowing them to do it themselves, make it into a game where they have to ‘paint’ their body parts and demonstrate by applying the sun cream on yourselves, too.
3. Cover up with suitable clothing.
A long-sleeved top to cover your arms or tightly woven shorts are all good preventative measures. *
4. Wear sunglasses for eye protection.
You can get sunglasses with UV protection on the lenses, but we all know, from a child’s perspective it’s the look that counts. There is a multitude of funky looking sunglasses which can protect your eyes whilst you remain looking as cool as a cucumber. Letting your child choose their look is a great way for them to not only find their identity but to also encourage them to wear the glasses, then they can show everyone they meet just how grand they look.
5. Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
Again, the same as the glasses, you can get hats that meet your needs, be it for sport, gardening or to go with that special outfit you’ve picked out for that wonderful event, there is a hat for the occasion. And who doesn’t love looking back at a photo without the sun in their eyes?
What is sunburn?
I’m sure most of us have suffered sunburn in our lifetimes, I know from one particular occasion that has been scorched into my memory was when I was bobbing about on our boat in my teens, I had forgotten about the correct care and when I came out from the water I was the same colour as the tomato ketchup that I was putting into my burger bun that had been lovingly prepared by my Granddad! As you can probably guess, I tried never to forget to pack the sun cream for our boat trips again!
In short, sunburn is hot and sore skin caused by too much sun which may flake and peel after a few days. Thankfully you can treat it yourself and it usually gets better within 7 days.
Your skin may feel or look:
- Hot to the touch
- Sore of painful
- Be flaking or peeling – this usually happens after a few days
- Red or pink in colour, or there may be no change
In severe cases you may blister.
So how do you apply sun cream correctly?
There are a few easy steps to follow when applying sun cream, which will help prevent sunburn, allowing you to have a wonderful and relaxed summer in comfort.
How to apply sun cream:
- Apply 30 minutes before going out in the sun
- Apply to all areas exposed to the sun
- Re-apply when in the water
- Re-apply every 2 hours approx. (as the sun can dry the cream off of your skin)
- Apply a thick layer
So what if you do get sunburnt?
Here is a table for the off chance that you or someone you know might have gotten unlucky. After all, we are only human…
That’s the Summertime Sun Care reminders done. Go and enjoy the sunshine, make memories, drink plenty of water and stay safe.
For any further advice please visit the NHS website which can help you further, or visit me or Nurse Pearse in the Nurses’ office in The Chantry.