Be sun safe and heat aware

People are being advised to take care in the sun with a heatwave predicted by the Met Office for East Anglia this week. Children and the elderly are at most risk in the hot weather from sunburn and heat stress – both of which are preventable by taking some simple steps.

Advice for coping with heat

  • Use sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) e.g. SPF 30 – especially important for children who are prone to sunburn
  • Bear in mind that even if it's cloudy you can still get sunburnt
  • Try and plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm)
  • If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning
  • If you must go out, stay in the shade, wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton
  • If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you
  • Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible
  • Close the curtains in rooms that get a lot of sun
  • Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation. If you are worried about security, at least open windows on the first floor and above
  • Take cool showers or baths, and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck
  • Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best
  • Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse
  • Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water

A&E consultant Mr Bruce Finlayson said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and to take sensible precautions. Getting sunburnt is irresponsible and is not a medical emergency. If you do get sunburn you should visit a chemist and ask for calamine lotion and paracetamol. Try to rest in a cool environment, and drink plenty of fluids but not alcohol.”

And Mr Finlayson also warned of the dangers of people looking to cool off by rivers, broads or the sea. He said: “Children must be closely supervised near water and trying to cool off in rivers, the seaside and pools can be very dangerous, especially after a recent meal or while drunk. A cool shower or bath is safest.”

Monday 29th of June 2009 02:00:25 PM