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Be safe not sorry in the sun
Welsh A&E departments have seen an increase in patients suffering from heat exhaustion, sun burn – and minor injuries relating to alcohol intoxication.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Hussey said:
“During warm days and mild evenings it is very tempting to sit outside and soak up the sun.
“However, it is important to keep in mind the risks of too much exposure to the sun and heat, and to take precautions against them.
“I cannot stress how important it is to drink plenty of water or other soft cold drinks, rather than alcohol which can dehydrate you further.
“Wear sun screen, loose-fitting clothes and a hat.
“Patients who have respiratory and cardiac conditions struggle with humidity. I urge older people, especially those with heart or lung diseases to be careful. In hot weather the air quality can deteriorate. Humid weather and poor air quality are also all known asthma triggers, so people who have asthma should consider taking any preventative measures suggested by their doctor.
"Avoid staying in the sun too long, especially between 11 am and 3 pm when it is at its strongest.
“It is very important to protect babies and small children. Babies burn quickly so need to be shaded from the sun, kept cool and given plenty of cool liquids. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that has four or five stars and protects against UVA and UVB.
“Maximise the protection by putting sunscreen on your children about half an hour before they go outside, and re-apply at least every two hours, more often if they are playing in water. A wide-brimmed hat that covers their face, back of the neck and ears will help protect children when they play outside.
“People with fair skin, lots of moles or freckles and those with a family history of skin cancer will also need to be very careful when out in the sun.”
With the increased pressures on A&E during the warm weather, it is important that the public play their part in assisting the emergency care services by considering whether they could be treated with support from NHS Direct Wales, a pharmacist or through primary care services.