Picture the scene: You’ve had a tough year at work but at least your holiday is around the corner. You, your partner and the kids are headed for sunnier climes and the plan is to lounge by the pool or the beach, sip on a few cocktails and work on that tan.
However, more and more people heading off on holiday are failing to take adequate precautions against the sun and are exposing themselves to the dangers of sunburn.
The number of holidaymakers that laugh off sunburn and don’t appreciate how serious it can be is staggering.
Aside from the fact that over-exposure is bad for your skin and can lead to premature ageing, sunburn puts you at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Why take the risk?
Sunburn is avoidable with the right precautions, meaning there’s no reason to put the health of you or your family at risk.
When it comes to buying sunscreen, don’t just seek out the cheapest brand. Look for a sunscreen brand that protects you against UVA rays as well as UVB rays.
Then seek out an SPF level that best suits your levels of sun exposure. SPF is the number on the front of sunscreen tubes. The higher the number, the longer you’re protected.
Ideally, you should stay in the shade during peak hours of sun-strength, usually between 10am and 4pm. However, if you are going to be out in the sun all day, don’t take any risks – purchase SPF 50 (at least) and don’t be slow about reapplying it.
Cover up that head of yours
For men who are light on top, or completely bald, it is extremely dangerous to walk around for extended periods with your head exposed. Protecting your head is not a job for sunscreen – it’s a job for a hat, or a cap, or whatever your headgear of choice is.
Parents with young kids should take no chances. Most children will naturally get a colour from being out and about on holiday.
However, it shouldn’t matter if they come back home with or without a tan. Their young skin is extra sensitive and should be consistently topped up with high-level SPF sunscreen.
Children should only have large stretches of skin uncovered by clothing when they are in the swimming pool or the sea. As soon as they re-emerge, it’s time to dry off, put the shorts and tee-shirt on, and reapply the sunscreen. Look out for a waterproof suncream too, which will withstand contact with water.
The sun is dangerous – respect it
Failure to take precautions when in the sun can end badly. If you, your partner or your child are overexposed and become sunburnt, apply after-sun immediately and rehydrate with water as well as drinks that contain electrolytes.
If the sunburn intensifies within a couple of days to the level that it causes severe pain, see a doctor. Depending on the severity of the burns, the doctor may then refer you to hospital.
In case of extreme sunburn or heatstroke, it is crucial that every member of your party travels with an in-date e111 card when travelling throughout Europe so that you will be entitled to discounted or free medical treatment.