With the weather showing some promise of summer at last, Dudley Public Health is offering some practical advice on how to stay safe in the sun.

People all over Dudley will be spending much of their free time outside this summer and as we enjoy the brighter sunnier days we need to keep in mind the risks of over exposure to sunlight.

Whether you are staying at home this summer or jetting off to sunnier climes, it is important to look after your skin.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK but most cases could be prevented. The number of people getting skin cancer is rising each year at an alarming rate and it is predicted to rise faster than any other cancer.

Research has found that six out of 10 men and four out of 10 women never use sunscreen or cover-up during sunny periods in the UK. The sun doesn’t need to feel hot to damage your skin and it can be just as damaging here as it is abroad.

With the school holidays underway, those looking after children should remember that young skin is delicate and very easily damaged by the sun. All children, no matter whether they tan easily or not, should be protected from the sun. Young people are more vulnerable to the effects of sunlight and if children get burnt, it increases the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Here are a few practical tips to keep you and your children safe in the sun and avoid sunburn.

• Use at least factor 15 or above sunscreen.

• Cover up with a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses.

• Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.

• Take care not to burn. Don’t be fooled by a cool breeze or light cloud.

• Drink plenty to avoid dehydration.

For more information about sun awareness visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk or www.cancerresearch.org