Health chiefs issue sunburn warning

PUBLISHED: 10:54 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11 21 June 2018

People are beuing advised to wear sun cream  Pisture: Antony Kelly

People are beuing advised to wear sun cream Pisture: Antony Kelly


Health chiefs are warning people to wear sunscreen after nearly 60 people needed treatment for sunburn in West Norfolk last year.

Some 55 patients went along to a GP surgery, while two people attended the A&E department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which manages health services in the area, is calling on residents to ensure that they apply sunscreen before heading out to enjoy the summer.

CCG chair and Upwell GP Dr Paul Williams said: “While the numbers of people seeking medical treatment for sunburn are low, I would like to encourage everyone to apply high factor sunscreen before enjoying the beautiful West Norfolk coastline and countryside.

“Pharmacists are a good first port of call to get advice on how best to treat sunburn along with other minor illnesses and injuries. Going forward, we are asking people to think carefully about which NHS service they use in order to support our busy frontline doctors and nurses.”

Maggie McDermott, a senior clinical pharmacist at the CCG, said people should ensure that they apply sun cream 20 to 30 minutes before going outside.

She said: “It doesn’t matter if you buy a cheap sunscreen or an expensive one, providing it has Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating then it will protect you.

“We would advise people to use products with an Ultraviolet (UV) star rating of 4 or 5. Products which protect against UVB will prevent burning while UVA should stop the ageing effects of the sun.”

Many people will apply sun cream by rubbing it up and down their arm or leg but this method can cause skin irritation. Mrs McDermott has advised starting at the shoulder and then apply the cream across the arm rather than going down.

She added: “I have heard people say that it is not possible to burn in this country but I would like to stress that you can. People can also get burnt on cloudy and windy days so it also always advisable to apply sun cream during the summer months.”

“There are very few treatments for sunburn. Remember sunburn is a burn, so treat it as you would a burn by immersion in cool water or application of a cold towel or face cloth to the area, which can be very cooling and soothing, or use a fan to cool the skin. A dose of paracetamol can often be helpful too. Using a plan unscented moisturizer or Aloe Vera gel helps, and when sunburn becomes itchy use calamine cream, all of those can be bought without the need to see your GP.

“Extreme cases of sunburn can make you feel nauseous and dehydrated, in those cases we would recommend that you seek medical advice but a pharmacist is a really good first port of call.”

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