220 people treated for sunburn in Northern Ireland heatwave

220 people treated for sunburn in Northern Ireland heatwave

MORE than 200 people have been treated for sunburn in Northern Ireland hospitals during the current heatwave.

The Public Health Agency has issued a warning that one episode of sunburn could double the risk of malignant melanoma following the news that 220 people have been admitted to hospital as a result of recent high temperatures.

The Belfast Trust saw the highest number of patients, with 69 needing treatment for sunburn.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said the extra patients added pressure to the local health service.

The board issued advice to those basking in the sun in the coming days and weeks.

They said: "By choosing the right care for you, this will help ensure that emergency departments are used appropriately and ease pressures on the service.”

"However, those with serious concerns about their health should of course always consult their GP or an out-of-hours service."

The HSCB also issued the following steps to avoid sunburn:

  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 for UVB protection and 4-star for UVA protection; apply liberally 30 minutes before going out in the Sun and re-apply at least every two hours
  • Know the UV index and, if it is more than three, protect your skin and eyes
  • Seek shade when the sun is at its strongest, generally between 11:00 and 15:00 BST
  • Wear a long-sleeved T-shirt and a hat in the Sun
  • Wear sunglasses that have either CE or British Standard (BS) marks, a UV 400 label and offer 100% UV protection