Outdoor workers told to cover up in the sun

22 May 2019, 14:44 | Updated: 22 May 2019, 14:48

Sun heatwave

People who work outdoors are being urged to Cover Up, Mate!

A new NHS campaign is aimed at builders, gardeners, farmers and sports-players who may find themselves outside longer during the summer months and often don't use sun cream.

They are being warned exposure to greater levels of UV can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.

Judith, a Beef Farmer from Somerset shares her first-hand experience of being diagnosed with the most common type of skin cancer;

"I was always aware of protecting myself in the sun, but I probably didn't cover up as religiously as I should do. Sometimes it is freezing cold when I start my day, and it's the last thing I would think about. Over time I noticed, what started off as a little white spot on my chin and gradually it began to grow. My GP referred me to a specialist and they immediately diagnosed me with skin cancer."

NHS England South West Medical Director, Dr Michael Marsh said: "You can't feel UV radiation, so it's very easy to get sunburnt in the UK, even when it's cloudy and not particularly warm. Sunburn increases the likelihood of skin cancer so its important people take more care, especially those who work outside or take part in outdoor sport."

Debbie Stark, Deputy Director of NHS Healthcare at Public Health England, said "Although exposure to some sunlight is good for boosting vitamin D levels, people should not overdo it. People who spend more than 15 minutes in the sun on any given day, should apply sun protection factor 15 or higher," she said. "A suntan is your skin's way of trying to protect itself from too much sun. And a sunburn is a clear sign that your skin has been damaged."

The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible if any moles or freckles change size or shape.

Find out more here.