Summer sun health check

This weekend a strange phenomenon occurred in Britain. According to unconfirmed news reports a glowing orange sphere appeared in the sky at around 5am and immediately began to disperse clouds up and down the country. The strange object stayed in the skies over Britain for 16 hours straight whilst it bathed the fields and the hills of England in a warm comforting light, before finally departing and returning the next day. An immediate enquiry was called for by the government and scientists working for the MET office suggested that this omen of warmth and light might well herald the start of the fabled ‘British summertime’…

Yes, you heard it here first: The sun has got his hat on, hip-hip hip-hooray.
Predictably, Britain has already gone sun mad this weekend, with the majority of people doing utterly daft things like having BBQ’s, going down to the beach, running around exercising and participating in various other forms of sun-worshipping, such as getting a tan.

With so little sun this summer, the majority of Brit’s will more than likely binge on the sun for the next few days like an exhausted  gecko that’s been hiding under a rock for a week. Yet, despite how pleasant it is right now, the sun does of course bring with it certain health risks> that we should all be aware of…

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Stay hydrated  

One of the most common problems associated with the summer and sun-worshipping is dehydration. The body is made up of approximately two-thirds water. To remain functioning efficiently the body requires the constant topping up of fluids, in order to replenish essential minerals and elements, such as sodium, potassium and phosphate. Exercise, bodily functions and exposure to the sun results in perspiration and can lead to a dramatic loss of body fluids, causing fatigue, severe thirst, skin issues and low blood pressure. In extreme cases dehydration can lead to unconsciousness and death. If you’re out and about in the sun this weekend make sure to re-hydrate, especially if you’re drinking alcohol.

Keep your skin safe

According to the latest statistics over 76,500 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and more than 9,500 cases of melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year. While the sun is an important source of vitamin D (which is good for the skin), too much exposure to the sun and its rays can be extremely dangerous, and can result in varying degrees of sunburn and may potentially lead to skin cancer. Sunlight contains three types of ultraviolet rays, UVA, UVB and UVC. Most of these rays are blocked by the Earth’s ozone layer, but the rays that do pass through atmosphere can be harmful and have been linked by medical research to DNA damage and cancer. People with moles or freckles are more susceptible to skin cancer issues and should take care to limit their exposure in the sun. Anyone with concerns regarding skin cancer should immediately seek professional medical advice and consult their doctor for a health check-up. Skin cancer has a high cure rate if caught early and removed. To ensure your safety always wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and remember to take regular breaks from the sun.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Often linked to dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are commonly experienced ailments during long hot summers. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s temperature increases beyond its standard 37°C. Anyone experiencing heat exhaustion is likely to feel flushed, dizzy and nauseas. Patients suffering from heat exhaustion are also likely to experience a rapid heartbeat, as well as feeling confused and fatigued. People experiencing heat exhaustion should attempt to cool off by getting out of the sun, removing their clothes and rehydrate. When the body’s temperature rises above 40°C, heat exhaustion can turn into heatstroke. Heatstroke is considered to be a medical emergency and anyone suffering from suspected heatstroke should receive immediate medical attention. Heatstroke can result in seizures, hyperventilation, the loss of consciousness and even organ failure. Try to stay cool, avoid over exposure to the sun and seek shade often. The emergency services should be called immediately if you suspect that someone is suffering from heatstroke.   

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