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The sun has got its hat on but have you?

The sun has got its hat on but have you?
03 May 2019

What does UV mean to you? UV or UVR stands for Ultra Violet radiation. These are the harmful rays from the sun that can damage your skin and may cause skin cancers.

You can’t see or feel UV radiation. Not everyone realises that it’s not the high temperature that causes skin damage, it’s those sneaky UV rays which can penetrate the cloudiest skies just as much as sunny clear days.

Generally, we expose ourselves to the harmful effects of UV rays more in the warmer months and, in support of Sun Awareness Week (6-12 May 2019), we're encourage people living and working in Cheshire to look after their biggest organ, their skin.

Sunshine is always welcome. However, too much sun can also have serious impacts on your health such as sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer.

Non-melanoma skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on areas of skin that have been most exposed to the sun such as your head and neck (including lips and ears) and the backs of your hands.

Skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cancer in the under 50s.

Dr Mike Clarke, our cancer lead and GP with High Street Surgery, Macclesfield said: “Skin cancer usually develops when someone has spent too much time in the sun. It’s really important that you protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. Even on cloudy days, you can still get sunburn.

“We need to be more cautious and take actions that reduce risk: get into shade when the sun is at its strongest – usually between 11am and 3pm in the summer – and keep your skin covered with clothing and sunscreen. Make sure you always have sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and good UVA protection. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and again shortly after heading outdoors to cover any missed patches.”

Dr Andrew Watson, our clinical chair, added: “If you do get sunburn, you can help relieve soreness by applying an after-sun or calamine lotion. If you experience pain or swelling, take some ibuprofen or paracetamol.

“For more severe burns – skin that is badly blistered or swollen – seek medical help by visiting your local pharmacist, calling NHS 111 or booking an appointment with your GP”.

Most skin cancers can be prevented by wearing a good sun screen while the Met Office provides a daily UV Index forecast.

Action on Cancer will be giving out UV detection cards this summer to help people realise the strength of UV rays even on cloudy days. For information, visit Action on Cancer’s Facebook page or follow it on Twitter @AoCCheshire.

Alternatively, visit NHS Be Clear on Cancer or the British Association of Dermatologists.