With summery weather forecast for the next few days, people in the Black Country and West Birmingham are being reminded to stay safe in the sun.

Many people will be making the most of the sunny weather by spending as much time as possible outdoors, however it’s important to remember the sun can be harmful if we don’t protect ourselves.

Even if it’s cloudy or doesn’t feel hot, exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn which increases your risk of sun cancer.

There are a few simple things you can do to stay safe in the sun and reduce your risk of getting sunburnt, including:

  • Stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest

  • Apply a sunscreen that a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and at least a 4-star

    ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection

  • Reapply sunscreen throughout the day liberally and frequently, according to the

    manufacturer's instructions

  • Wear clothes that provide sun protection including hats and sunglasses

  • Take extra care to protect children and babies

  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.

If you do get by the sun, sponge the area gently with cool water and apply an aftersun cream or spray. If it is painful, take paracetamol or ibuprofen and stay out of the sun until all the redness has gone. If the skin swells or blisters or you feel unwell, visit your local pharmacist who will be able to advise you on suitable treatments or refer you to other healthcare services.

Dr Ruth Edwards, local GP and Chair of Dudley Commissioning Board, said: “We all like to spendtime outdoors, especially when the sun comes out, but with the days getting longer and the sun getting stronger as we enter summer, the chance of getting sunburnt also increases.

“If it looks cloudy there is a risk of being lulled into a false sense of security, but UV rays can still get through even when it is completely overcast. That’s why it's important to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of the sun

“Whether you’re spending time in the garden or planning on having a day out with family and

friends, if you’re going to be outside this summer for a lengthy period of time then make sure you protect yourself against the sun.

“Sun cream should be applied liberally to all parts of exposed skin including the face, neck and ears, and reapplied at least every two hours.

“You should also take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.

“By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the nice weather and importantly, stay safe.”