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Southern Health 70 years of the NHS; 1948 - 2018
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Sun safety

Being out in the sunshine has benefits for your health. It makes people feel better about themselves, allows them to use vitamin D and gives increased opportunity to take physical activity.

Sun safety - two children applying sun protection
The sun is the main source of vitamin D and vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. The sun can help reduce the risk of developing long term diseases and improves people’s overall physical and mental wellbeing. However, the ultraviolet rays of the sun can burn and in order to enjoy the sun safely there is advice for all the family to follow.


  • Avoid being out in the sun too long. This includes not staying in the sun until the skin goes red. If you are out in the sun then protect your skin as much as possible to avoid burning.

  • Protect the skin when it is sunny, both in the UK and abroad, by spending time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Where possible, wear clothing that protects areas which may be more likely to burn and apply sunscreen. Use a broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears, and wear a long-sleeved top and trousers. Where possible, choose close-weave fabrics that don’t allow the sun through.

  • Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they should offer additional protection. (Note; none of the sunscreen products provide 100% protection against the sun).

  • Choose a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen which offers both UVA and UVB protection. It should be at least SPF 15 to protect against UVB and offer high UVA protection (in the UK, this is indicated by at least four stars and the circular UVA logo). Use water resistant products if sweating or contact with water is likely.

  • Apply liberally half an hour before and after going out in the sun (don’t forget your head, neck and ears). Re-apply at least every 2 hours and immediately after being in water, even if the sunscreen is ‘water resistant’. Also re-apply after towel drying.
Our services

School Nurses

Useful websites

Keeping your skin protected in the sun (NHS Choices)

Information on sunlight and vitamin D (NHS Chocies)

Information for schools 

Sunsmart resources

Sun Safe school resources