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‘Stay sun safe,’ urge Sefton health chiefs

Although it’s mid-September, health professionals are still urging local people to stay sun safe during this week’s warm weather.

To stay sun safe you should:

  • spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm;
  • make sure you never burn;
  • cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses;
  • take extra care with children;
  • use at least factor 30 sunscreen.

Dr Debbie Harvey, clinical lead for cancer at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “A tan and sunburn are both signs of skin damage from exposure to the sun. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer.

“It’s important to remember that there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan and that you can burn in the UK, even on a cloudy day.

“To protect your skin sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.

“Make sure that the label on your sunscreen has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB and at least a 4-start UVA protection too.”

In the UK, almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunbeds.

Dr Graeme Allan, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Take extra care to protect babies and children in the sun. Their skin is more sensitive than adult skin and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing later in life. Children under 6 months should always be kept out of direct strong sunlight.

“It’s important to use a water-resistant sunscreen and to reapply it as soon as you or your child have been in the water as water washes it off.

“If you do get sunburn, stay out of the sun as much as possible, apply after-sun cream or spray and drink plenty of water. Your community pharmacists will be able to help you with the best treatments to soothe it and ease any pain, they will also advise if you need to see your GP.

Margaret Jones, Interim Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “As people are out and about enjoying the good weather it’s really important to not rely on sunscreen alone to protect yourself from the sun.

“And it’s still important to follow social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.”