Be Safe in the Sun

Heather Sibley

Welcome to our June Blog!

We are now well into Spring and Summer is fast approaching. I'm so excited for those beautiful warm days to come. There's something about summer that just makes everything happy. 

Like most of us, I love to get outside. Whether it be into the garden, going to the beach, making the most of any swimming pool, paddling pool, river or sea. Eating too much at a BBQ and drinking everything out of a "fancy" glass with lemon and ice!

 

The sunshine is said to be a natural mood booster as it is thought to increase the brains release of serotonin into the body. It is also said to be a great way to get some of the Vitamin D that our bodies need. But its important to take the sun safety of our children and ourselves seriously. Nobody wants to look like a crispy lobster after too much sun, it can be very painful, unsightly and dangerous. 

So what are the best ways to enjoy the sunshine whilst keeping safe? Here I will go through some tips to help keep you safer this summer.

Clothing and Shelter:

Firstly, It is important to stay cool and hydrated especially in the summer sun. Heatstroke can be very dangerous so we need to try our best to avoid being in a situation where this can happen. (see below for a list of things to look out for)

The NHS recommend to 'Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October'

So where possible try to find a shady spot, if you cant make it indoors, just find suitable shelter from the suns rays. Try and find somewhere cool if possible, such as the shade of a building or wall. Remember, if you choose to take shelter outside, for example under a tree, that you still take precautions to keep safe from the sun as UV rays can still penetrate through these shades.

Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Older babies should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, especially when the sun is at its hottest. If you are out in the sun, use a parasol or sunshade to keep them out of direct sunlight. I would highly recommend this article from the NHS for some more in depth information specifically for baby sun safety.

 

Although not the most obvious, our choice of clothing can make a difference to our sun health. In general it is advised to wear light coloured, loose fitting, lightweight clothing to keep cool. Try to choose tight weave clothing if its not UV rated, as loose the weave will let more rays through and increase the risk of burning. 

A sun hat with a wide brim is said to be one of the best choices to help keep the sun off your skin  The Legionnaire is also a good style to keep the neck covered which is an area often neglected. Caps offer the least protection as they leave the neck and ears exposed. Make sure your child also wears a hat in water. If you want to, you can buy hats designed for use in water which are made of fabric which dries very quickly but if you don't have one, just wear your usual sun hat.

UV sunglasses can protect our eyes, which are also vulnerable. Choose a style that fits well, a wrap around style is a good choice. 'Always look for a CE, UV 400 or British Standard Mark. This ensures your sunglasses provide adequate UV protection. The British Standard sets performance levels for quality, strength, stability, design and manufacture as well as the amount of UV they let through.'(Eyecare Trust).

There are some clothing products on the market that are labelled as offering various UV protection. They are usually found on children's swimwear and hats, although there are some adult clothing ranges that provide this too. If you are choosing to use a UV protect item of clothing, remember not to use it as a substitute for using sun cream. This should be applied as well as the clothing of choice. An all in one swimsuit is a good idea as it provides the most coverage and it wont ride up and accidentally expose skin to the sun. There's such a variety now of swimwear, you can get some really cool designs so you don't have to compromise on style whilst being safer.

 

Sun cream

In the garden? Going for a walk? Sometimes we forget that even if we aren't on holiday lazing on a golden beach we can still get burnt. I am guilty of this and especially when its overcast. Ever come home a little pink and realise you've caught the sun, even when you didn't think there was any sun to catch?

Sun cream is very important to help protect us from harmful UV rays. Sun cream is not an alternative to covering up but it’s a good extra. Briefly; UVA rays cause skin damage that leads to tanning and contribute to burning, as well as skin aging and wrinkles. UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer. Click here for more in-depth information on what UVA and UVB rays are and how they affect us.  According to the British Skin foundation; you should apply sun cream 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun. It should be re-applied every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating even if it says water resistant. You should also remember your lips, an SPF30+ lip balm is a good idea. And its really important to make sure your sun cream is in date. 

The NHS recommend that you use an SPF of at least 30 to protect from UVB and a 4 star for UVA protection. In my opinion factor 50 is the best option and it doesn't require any more effort to put it on then a lower factor. Follow this link to read a more detailed article on sun safety from the NHS. 

There are so many types brands on the market to choose from it can be really confusing. There are lots of options for all preferences and skin types including sensitive skin and natural ingredients. Just make sure you are choosing a reputable company when you are choosing something to keep your family safe. 

If you are ever unsure, there is a wealth of information available online, do your research and use more then one source to check your information. 

Note: "It’s important not to rely on high-SPF sunscreens alone. No single method of sun defense can protect you perfectly. Sunscreen is just one vital part of a strategy that should also include seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses" (Skin Cancer Foundation).

 

 

Make sure you regularly check on your children in the summer, keep them hydrated and out of the sun where possible. Make sure they are not too hot and apply sun cream regularly. 

You can use a thermal cup or bottle to help keep drinks cool, if your child wont drink water, you can make it more fun buy adding a small amount of fruit juice, you can also buy infusion drinks bottles to add fruit to a drink. Ice lollies are also a good way to keep hydrated. Here are some recipes to make your own. Most fresh fruits and vegetables also have a high water content so consider adding extras to your Childs diet. Ultimately staying hydrated is the bottom line so choose the best option for your family.

Children don't always tell us when there is a problem so make sure you are closely monitoring them in hot weather.

 

Sunburn

'Sunburn is hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. You can treat it yourself. It usually gets better within 7 days.

If you have sunburn, your skin may:

  • feel hot to touch
  • feel sore or painful
  • flake or peel - this usually happens a few days after you get sunburn

Your skin may also blister if your sunburn is severe.

If you have white skin, your skin will usually be red or pink. If you have black or brown skin, you may not notice a change in the colour of your skin.

Do's:

  • get out of the sun as soon as possible

  • cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold)

  • apply aftersun cream or spray

  • drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration

  • take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain

  • cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed

Dont's

  • do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin

  • do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin

  • do not pop any blisters

  • do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin

  • do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin

Seek medical advice if you think your child has sunburn and isn't recovering. (further information is available on the NHS website)

Severe sunburn can lead to:

Heatstroke

The signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down.

If someone has heat exhaustion, follow these 4 steps:

  1. Move them to a cool place.
  2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
  3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
  4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too.

Stay with them until they're better.

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes. Seek medical advice if you think your child has heatstroke and isn't recovering. (further information is available on the NHS website)'

     

    I hope this has helped you to feel positive about the decisions you make to keep your family safer this summer. So soak up all the summer happiness, spend as much of your free time as possible doing things you love and stay safe outdoors.

    With Love,

    Rainbow Nation Clothing.

    XXX



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