Staying healthy in the sun

Summer is here and that means many of us will spend longer outdoors enjoying the warm weather.

But hotter weather carries risks, so local GPs are reminding residents to take some simple precautions to protect themselves against ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage our skin and can cause skin cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, 9 in 10 cases of melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – could be prevented by avoiding sunbeds and enjoying sunny weather safely.

Getting sunburnt just once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.

Check your shadow

We all need some exposure to the sun. The vitamin D it provides has benefits for mental health and help us maintain strong and healthy bones. However, too much UV radiation can damage DNA in skin cells and cause skin cancer.

One way to work out how strong the UV rays are is by the length of your shadow. If it is shorter than your height then the sun’s UV rays are strong and you are more likely to burn.

Tips to stay safe

Dr Adrian McLachlan, a local GP and chair of NHS Lambeth CCG, said: “Several measures can be taken to prevent skin cancer, the most obvious being to apply sunscreen (make sure the sun protection factor is at least 15 and has four or five stars).

“Wearing darker clothes that have long sleeves, as well as a hat, gives you more protection from the sun, especially if they have an UV Protection Factor of 40 or higher.

“With up to 10% of skin cancers occurring on the eyelid, wearing sunglasses with 100 per cent UV protection can also help you stay safe in the sun.”

For more information and advice on staying safe in the sun in the UK and abroad, visit the sunscreen and sun safety page on the NHS website.

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