Sun safety

So, the sun has come out and it's baking hot. And out trot the brave old British to try and get tanned. Or it happens by accident. Whatever, lots of you are now a nice shade of lobster.

My first piece of advice, as Baz Luhrman said: wear sunscreen. If you're pale and weedy like me, you need at least SPF 25. Most white people should be using 8 if not 15; coloured skins can get away with less but should still use it as I'm sure you all know you're not immune to burning! Apply before you go out, and reapply every few hours or after you've been in water. TRY and avoid the sun between 11 and 2 if you can, and if you can't, make sure you're well suncreamed and ideally have a hat.

If it's too late for the above and you're already burnt, first thing to do is stay out of the sun! I find a nice cool bath/shower works really well to cool down the burn (as you would with any other burn) and then lots and lots of aftersun. Aloe Vera gel/lotion is wonderful, as is calamine. And cover up until it's gone down a bit. Try not to get burnt, even if you really want to tan - I forget the exact statistics, but I think it only takes about 7-8 doses of sunburn to an area in your life to seriously increase your risk of skin cancer. I know I've burned my shoulders more than that.

Next, hydration. It's much hotter than usual and you should probably be taking in at least twice your usual fluid intake. That's about 3 litres per day for most people. If you do sport or any kind of exercise you're going to need more, and ideally you should drink isotonic fluid as you'll be losing a lot of salt too. A nice recipe for an isotonic-ish drink is:

800ml water 1/4tsp salt 2-3tsp sugar 200ml sugar free squash (or however strong you like it)

If you start to feel headachy, drowsy, sluggish, bad tempered or any or all of the above, it's time to get out of the sun, get lots of water (or ideally isotonics) down you and get some rest.

Page originally created by Helenia [[1]]