Coffee break with Dr Parry of Pencoed New Surgery – Sunburn and Heatstroke

Coffee break with Dr Parry of Pencoed New Surgery – Sunburn and Heatstroke

Summer is here, and although rain can be a frequent weather type here in Wales, we are lucky enough to get some hot sunny days too. The PYB Health content team has taken 5 minutes out of Dr Parry’s busy day to pick his brains on how to avoid Sunburn or Heat Stroke whilst enjoying the hotter weather, both in the UK and abroad!

Top Tips for a Summer without Sunburn or Heat Stroke

Question: What factor sun cream should we all wear?

Dr Parry: We should all be using a sunscreen with SPF factor of 30 or above. Ideally SPF 50 for children and those with fair skin. It is also important to re-apply frequently to maintain its effectiveness, particularly after swimming.

Question: What times of the day are most harmful, especially for children, to be in the sun?

Dr Parry: The rays from the sun are strongest in the middle of the day. It is advised to avoid being in sun form 11am  to 3 pm. Ideally seek some shade at this time – take a longer lunch!

Question: How can you treat sunburn whilst away on holiday?

Dr Parry: Ideally we should aim to avoid sunburn altogether. It is very harmful to the skin and is uncomfortable. Cooling it down will give some relief, for example in a cool shower. Aftersun lotions help to rehydrate the skin.

It is advisable to avoid the sun altogether if you have already burned.

Question: How do you know if you have heat stroke?

Dr Parry: Heat stoke is very serious but thankfully uncommon. It is when your body can no longer cool itself down. It may lead to fatigue, exhaustion, muscle cramps and headache. It can be caused through overheating in direct sunlight.

It can also be caused by doing strenuous or prolonged exercise in hot climates.

It is important to hydrate and cool yourself down if you suspect this. Get out of the sun. have some cold drinks and cool the skin with cold showers or wrapping in wet towels.

Question: What are the key things to remember to avoid dehydration?

Dr Parry: In hotter climates, we will be losing extra water through sweating, and indulging too much in holiday booze will leave us dehydrated. Take it easy on the alcohol and make a conscious effort to rehydrate with non alcoholic drinks or water. Again avoiding too much heat exposure will help.

Question: What are your top tips for staying safe whilst on holiday abroad?

Dr Parry: Sun safety is important not only for your skins health but to remain comfortable to enjoy your holiday. We all like a drink to relax on holiday but remember this will add to dehydration. 

Alcohol can have its other risks such as drowning as the drunk swimmer attempts to cool off.

Many countries do not have the luxury of drinking water coming from the tap. A tummy bug could ruin a holiday so it is probably worth buying in plenty of bottled water. 

Read more about Sunburn and Heat Stroke here.