Are you feeling the burn this summer?

It’s natural to want to get out in the sun during warm summer days and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people to take steps to protect their skin from the sun when they go outside and avoid being burnt this summer.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Sunburn pain can be at its most intense around 12 hours after exposure, but may continue to develop for a further 24 hours. Sunburn is usually mild and short-lived but it’s important to try and avoid it. Keeping a high factor sun cream in your medicine cabinet and applying it before you go out in the sun is advisable”

The length of time it takes for skin to go red or burn varies from person to person, as everyone who is exposed to the sun is at risk of getting sunburnt. You can help safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by following these simple steps.

  • Cover up when you are out in the sun – wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible and protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and at least 4-start UVA protection and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming
  • Seek shade and limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are strongest
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps – both cause serious long-term damage and contribute to skin cancer
Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group continued:
“It can be easy to underestimate the strength of the sun when you’re outside and you may not realise you’re getting burnt. If you or your child has sunburn, you should get out of the sun as soon as possible by heading indoors or into a shady area.”

How to treat sunburn

If you do get burnt, you can treat mild sunburn at home, which may help to relieve your symptoms until your skin heals.

  • Cool the skin by having a cold bath or shower, sponging it with cold water, or holding a cold flannel to it
  • Use lotions containing aloe vera to soothe and moisturise your skin
  • Applying over the counter hydrocortisone cream for a few days may help reduce the inflammation – you can get this from your local pharmacy
  • Drink plenty of fluids to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
  • Take painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve any pain

If you are feeling unwell, or you are concerned about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area call NHS 111 or visit you nearest Minor Injuries Unit.

You should see your GP if a young child or baby has sunburn, or you have signs of sever sunburn which include:

  • Blistering or swelling of the skin
  • Chills
  • A high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • Dizziness, headaches and feeling sick – signs of heat exhaustion