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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    How to stay safe in the sun

    How to stay safe in the sun

    Posted on June 27th, 2023

    The sun has made a welcome return and no doubt many of you are trying to make the most of it before it disappears again! Whether you’re dusting off the barbecue, planning a weekend daytrip to the beach, or simply working remotely from your back garden – there’s nothing like a little sunshine to lift the spirits. And there’s some real science behind that. Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood. Sunlight also provides the body with some much-needed vitamin, essential for maintaining healthy bones. However, it’s important to remember that too much time in the sun can have serious consequences too. Read on as the health experts at YourGP round-up of what those potential problems are…

    Heat rash

    A heat rash occurs when the sweat ducts become blocked, meaning the perspiration is unable to escape and is trapped in the skin. The heat rash may look like pinky / red clusters of pimples or small blisters plus an itchy, prickly feeling. They can appear anywhere on the body are commonly found in skin folds, elbow creases and back of the knees.
    Our advice: Apply a cold, damp cloth to the affected area and dress in loose, cotton clothes to prevent it occurring again.


    Sweating is your body’s natural way of regulating your temperature. However, excessive sweating can result in your losing too much water and electrolytes, leaving you dehydrated. Your body will let you know if you are dehydrated – you’ll start to feel thirsty, your urine will be darkly-coloured, and you may start to feel tired or light-headed. Dehydration can be serious if it is not treated.
    Our advice: Remember to drink regularly throughout the day. On a typical day you should aim for at least eight glasses, but that should be increased during hot weather. Alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you so opt for water.


    The sun’s UV rays can cause serious damage to the skin. Sunburn, for example will leave your skin feeling tender, itchy and paintful for around seven days. More severe cases of sunburn can result in swelling of the skin, blisters, and flu-like symptoms such as nausea, fever and headache.
    Our advice: Cover up in loose clothing when outside in the sunshine. Head for the shade when the sun is at its strongest between noon and 3pm. And don’t scrimp on the sunscreen – SPF50 should be applied at regular intervals throughout the day.

    Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

    Prolonged heat and excessive sweating can result in the loss of essential water and salt, which can result in symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and weakness, known as heat exhaustion. If left untreated, it can lead to heat stroke which is extremely serious and requires urgent medial attention. Symptoms include slurred speech, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.
    Our advice: It is essential to stay cool and hydrated to prevent heat stroke, but if you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke you must call 999 immediately.

    Eye damage

    UV light is also a factor in the development of cataracts. Photokeratitis is damage to you’re The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause serious problems for your eyes – from photokeratitis, which is like sunburn on your eyes, to solar retinopathy which is a long-lasting problem caused by damage to the retina and cornea.
    Our advice: Wear sunglasses marked ‘UV400’ to protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays, and never look directly at the sun. It is also important to attend regular eye checks at your opticians to enable any potential issues to be picked up as early as possible.

    Skin cancer

    Long-term exposure to the sun can lead to the development of skin cancer. It is the fifth most common cancer in the UK today and rates are on the rise. Potential signs of a melanoma include an asymmetric shape, an irregular border, and a variation in colour.
    Our advice: Cover up, wear sunscreen, and if you notice any changes to any moles get it checked out ASAP.

    Stay safe this summer

    If you would like further advice on how to enjoy the sun sensibly or if you have any concerns about any of the issues outlined above, use our online booking form, email, or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you.

    I was in significant amount of pain and was seen very quickly by Dr McFarlane. He was able to immediately identify the problem. He carried out the minor surgery immediately, with great skill. I would not hesitate in recommending him as an excellent GP.


    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.