Woman with sun cream on shoulder on sunny beach

Sun safety 2021: Protect yourself this summer

Sun safety 2021: Protect yourself this summer

Last Summer was incredibly tough for everyone. As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the nation, we all took to self-isolation in order to protect ourselves and our communities.

This year, the pandemic hasn’t exactly ended, but with more and more people being vaccinated, we’re seeing a mass exodus to the outside world again.

However, while pandemic panic may have lessened, there is cause for concern when it comes to the sun. The Met Office predicts the UK will see a heatwave in July. Protect yourself by following our sun safety 2021 tips! 

UV protection

If you’re among those planning to celebrate Summer the old-fashioned way, with lots of time outdoors, it’s vital to protect yourself. Even on cloudy UK days, you can still burn.

The primary way to shield against sunburn is via the application of sun cream. To stay safest, apply at least factor 30 sun cream that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. You may want to spend some time absorbing UV to assist in your body’s vitamin D production, but it’s all about striking a balance between this and sun safety.

For the fullest protection, stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm, times when the sun is at its hottest. If your shadow is shorter than you, this means the sun is particularly intense.

sun cream on hand in shape of sun

Clothing & other risk factors

Aside from sun cream, there are other ways to protect yourself. Sunglasses provide vital protection from the sun’s rays. Naturally, you shouldn’t look directly at the sun, but even reflected light from sand, concrete and water can be damaging to your exposed eyes. Glasses with 99-100% UV protection are best.

Hats are another important accessory for shielding yourself from the sun. Sun hats primarily shelter your head and neck, especially when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Some clothes are especially made with sun-protective materials – if you burn easily consider investing in these.

Additionally, if you take a dip in the sea, this will wash away any sun cream. The water also reflects any UV rays, increasing the concentration towards your skin. All the while, the cooling effect of the water tricks you into thinking you’re not burning. Limit your time in the water and apply sun cream as soon as you dry off.

As well as sun safety, you should also know how to protect yourself from allergies. Click here to learn more.

sun hat hanging on a beachManaging sunburn

If you end up getting sunburnt, don’t panic – there are ways to treat it yourself without medical intervention. You’ll know if you have it if your skin becomes red, hot and sore to touch.

The NHS provides a clear sun safety list of Dos and Don’ts for managing sunburn:

  • Do stay out of the sun until the skin is healed
  • Do cool your skin with cold water
  • Do apply aftersun to ease the burn
  • Do avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water
  • Do take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease any pain
  • Do not use petroleum jelly, ice, or ice packs on sunburnt skin
  • Do not pop any blisters
  • Do not scratch or try to remove any peeling skin
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin

Severe sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, so please visit a GP if you believe your symptoms are particularly extreme.

"HELP" written on sunburnt skin in aftersun

If you would like further assistance with treating sunburn and advice on whether to visit a GP, please visit our locations page to find your local Imaan pharmacy.

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