ANZIO Digital A Burning Desire For The Sun

by Patricia Montgomery, LincsMag Writer.
Date: 11 July 2011

As the holiday season gets underway, radiation experts are urging caution in the summer sun.

Each year many thousands of holidaymakers in the UK, and those who head abroad where the sun is pretty much garanteed, burn their skin after spending too long in the heat of the summer sun.

Sunburn is painful as many of us know and is clear evidence that the skin has been damaged by over-exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

This is one of the main triggers of malignant melanoma, which in turn is the number one cause of death from skin cancer. Some scientists consider the onset of malignant melanoma is related to the number of times a person has suffered sunburn.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet radiation is strongly linked to the induction of skin cancers, and probably to eye disorders, in particular cataract, and the suppression of the body's immune system. Our largest single source of exposure is the sun. However, scientific studies cannot demonstrate that there is a completely safe level of UVR exposure.

Dr John O'Hagan, who heads up the optical radiation safety group at the HPA, said: "Being out in the sunshine in the summer is a perfectly natural and enjoyable thing to do and we very much want people to enjoy their summer holiday safely.

"But it's also really important that people remember that being out in the sunshine at this time of the year, and especially at those times of day when the sun is at its highest, carries the risk of sunburn."

Important Tips

To help you enjoy your holiday or time in the sun, here are some tips:

  • Knowing how sensitive your skin is to the sun. Those with fair skin burn significantly more easily than those with darker skin so should take extra care in the sun.

  • Seeking out shade in the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm.

  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face, head and neck giving extra protection to the eyes, which are also sensitive to the effects of UVR.

  • Using sunscreen of at least Sun Protection Factor 15 and which also provides UVA protection. This should be applied generously and frequently - especially to children.

Dr O'Hagan added: "Every year too many people from the UK who holiday here and abroad pay a price for not protecting themselves properly.

"However some sun exposure is good for you and it is important to get the balance right. For example there is no problem in taking a 15 minute walk in the sunshine at lunchtime. If you intend to sunbathe, or be outdoors for longer periods, it is important to take practical steps to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun."

Just Be Sensible

Really itís a case of just being sensible and avoiding the hottest part of the day, which really is from 11am to 3pm and remembering to splash on plenty of sunscreen lotion. Have fun, but stay safe.

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