Staying Sun Safe During Heatwave

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The South East coast has enjoyed a booming June due in no small part to the fantastic spell of sunny weather, with the Tramore Promenade Festival drawing huge crowds on both Saturday and Sunday last.This leader writer was in Kilkenny last Thursday afternoon, when the temperatures were in the range of 30 degrees Celsius. We noticed that the shops in the city were pretty quiet as visitors headed to the cooler coast.The HSE has provided advice to the public during this period of unseasonably high temperatures.

Those at most at risk of serious harm are:
- Older people, especially those over 75
- Babies and young children
- People with serious mental health problems
- People on certain medications
- People with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
- People who already have a high temperature from an infection
- People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
- People with mobility problems
- People who are physically active, like manual workers and athletes.

When it comes to keeping cool, “It is best to avoid getting too hot in the first place. Stay tuned to the weather forecast. Remember to think of those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat. If you’re planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination. Get airflow going in the house by opening doors and windows, but not in the sun facing ones.”
If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection
The HSE added: “If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening (and) wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat to shade face, neck and ears.”

When it comes to staying sun safe, Dr Patrick Ormond, a Consultant Dermatologist at St. James’s Hospital offered the following advice:
“Seek Shade: UV rays are the most intense between 11am and 3 to 4pm, so limit sun exposure during this time. Cover up: Wear loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Ninety-five per cent of UV rays are blocked by cotton. Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the head, neck, ears and face.
“Wear sunglasses that block as close to 100% UVA and UVB as possible. Sunglasses are just as important for children as they are for adults and can prevent cataracts in later life. Wear sunscreen: Apply at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every two hours. The amount of sunscreen that’s needed to cover the body of an average adult is around six full teaspoons of lotion.”
Farmers will be conscious of the consequences of the ongoing dry spell, a remarkable turnaround when one considers that many of us were snowed in only 16 weeks ago while we are being asked to be conscious of any excessive use of water by both Irish Water and the Government.

Thankfully, the region was incident free in terms of weather-related accidents over the weekend, while the decision to run the Waterford Viking Marathon over only the half and quarter distances represented a victory for common sense. Safety is paramount during such an extraordinary spell of weather pattern, so please did your bit and stay safe.

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