Barton Family Practice News – May 2024

Posted by: andreaf - Posted on:

It will soon be summer, and with any luck, we shall have some good weather and sunshine. Everyone feels better in the sunshine, and we need the sun to make vitamin D in our skin. Vitamin D is particularly important for bone health. The WHO recommends 15 minutes of sun exposure 3 times a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. However, too much sunlight can cause skin aging, sunburn, cataracts and eye damage and skin cancer. The sun’s ultraviolet light damages the DNA in the cells in our skin. People of a fairer complexion and young children and adolescents are most susceptible to sun damage and need to be more cautious about sun exposure. The best advice is to limit exposure to the midday sun, seek shade and wear protective clothing. A broad-spectrum sunblock with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher can give some protection, applied half an hour before going in the sun, and re-applied every 2 hours. However, sun protection is best achieved by seeking shade and wearing clothes rather than applying sunscreens. Here are several spoiler alerts: a suntan does not protect you from the harmful effects of the sun. Getting sunburnt is particularly damaging for children and increases their risk of skin cancer in later life. The use of sunbeds also increases the risk of cancers, such as melanoma.

There is currently a measles outbreak which is particularly affecting the West Midlands and London. Measles can cause serious illness in 1 in 15 people, with complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhoea, dehydration and fits, and in pregnancy can result in loss or early birth of the baby. The best way to prevent measles is to have the MMR vaccine. Please contact the surgery if you are unsure if your child has been vaccinated.

Best wishes from Team Barton.