With hot, sunny weather forecast for the start of this week, health chiefs in Wolverhampton are urging people to make the most of the sun - while ensuring they stay safe.

With more than 2,000 people a year dying from malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer, it's important that people take precautions.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Sunburn doesn't just happen when you're on holiday - you can burn when you least expect it. Sitting in the garden, walking the dog or tending the garden are just a few activities that can catch you off guard, even if it's not that warm.

"A moderate amount of sunshine is recommended for all of us; it provides essential vitamin D which we need for good health, to improve our mood and to help promote better sleep. But too much sun can be damaging and protecting ourselves not only prevents painful sunburn but also significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

"The sun's rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm, so people should try to avoid exposing their skin to much sun during these times, and apply a sunscreen that protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays. A sun protection factor [SPF] of 50 gives the best protection. Wearing a hat with a wide brim will also help to shade the face and neck and sunglasses protect the eyes.

"It's important to remember that, even if it's cloudy or overcast, you can still burn, so make sure you apply sunscreen before you go out, and top up throughout the day."

Minor sunburn should be treated at home by sponging with cool water and applying soothing aftersun or calamine lotion.

Anyone who is concerned about their sunburn, particularly if it is over a large area or is causing blistering or swelling of the skin, or is suffering chills, dizziness, sickness or a high temperature, should call 111. If anyone notices any changes to moles or unusual skin growth, they should speak to their GP as soon as possible.

For further information on how to keep safe in the sun, please visit Type=links;Linkid=7397;Title=NHS choices;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Monday 18 July, 2016