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Summer health - protecting your skin from harmful rays

The weather forecasters are suggesting we have a big dose of vitamin D to look forward to again soon.

Revealing some bare skin to sunlight guarantees an intake of the vitamin vital in helping the body absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth.

However, understandable care also needs to be taken in the summer to ensure you stay healthy and safe. Skin cancer is killing 2,500 people every year.

An adult should choose a minimum factor 15 sun cream. Factor 30 and above provide better protection but do not mean you can spend longer basking without the risk of burning. Always apply 20 minutes before you are heading out as it takes this time to be absorbed.

Sunscreens need to be reapplied regularly after a swim, towel drying or sweating and every few hours otherwise.

People with a family history of skin cancer, those with fair skin or hair and lots of moles and freckles need to be cautious about sun exposure.

And it goes without saying that little ones should always be shielded – babies under six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight and children need sun protection between March and October.

Sunglasses are also a must. Lead Consultant of the Ophthalmology Unit at Benenden David Schultz said: “Exposure to sunlight has been linked to the development of the two most common causes of visual loss – cataracts and macular degeneration. We recommend the use of sunglasses on all but the dullest days when outside. Ideally the lenses should have UVA and B protection. It is also recommended the lenses be polarized to minimise glare.”

And the stinging eyes you get in the pool? It is not actually the chlorine, but rather grimly bodily fluids binding with the chemical, causing the irritating compound.

Swimming is a fabulous exercise so do not be deterred, but always shower before a dip and invest in some decent goggles and some eye drops.

Copyright © 2017 Benenden Hospital Trust. The Benenden Hospital Trust, whose registered office is at Goddard's Green Road, Benenden, Cranbrook Kent TN17 4AX is a Company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales, number 3454120, and is also a registered charity, Registered charity number 1065995. The Benenden Hospital Trust is a subsidiary of The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited.

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