NUH warning after increase in children needing hospital treatment for sunburn

An increase in the number of children needing hospital treatment has led nurses to urge parents and the public in general to take care during warmer weather and also while on holiday.


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The Children’s Burn Unit at Queen’s Medical Centre has seen a significant increase in the number of young children being brought to them for specialist treatment for sun burn.


Andrea Cronshaw, Clinical Nurse Specialist Children’s Burns and Plastics said: “Due to recent heat waves we have seen a significant increase in admissions to the burns service with both children and adults suffering from sun burn. Sun burn can be very painful and is very distressing.

“Young skin is much more easily damaged than older skin and once you’ve been sun burnt, skin will age permanently. Sun burn damages your skin for life and is known to increase the risk of skin cancer, even on cloudy days.”


Since January this year, NUH’s Burns team children’s and adult’s teams have treated 25 people in the Nottingham area for blisters as a result of sun burn and have seen an increase in very young children receiving treatment for sun burn at our hospitals. This is compared with an admission rate of 13 people from January to December in 2016.

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Andrea added: “It is essential that new-born babies are kept covered up and in the shade and children are protected from the sun by wearing clothes to cover up, a broad rimmed hat and using the factor 50 sun screen.”


The Burns team at Nottingham University Hospitals have issued the following advice, for sun safety during this summer season whether at home or abroad:


  • Stay in the shade especially between 11am and 3pm– the sun is at its highest and hottest between these times.


  • Apply factor 50+ sunscreen and reapply regularly-Most people do not apply enough sunscreen when out and about on a sunny day, if it is applied too thinly it provides less protection.
  • Wear sun protection tops and suits– Make sure you cover up with sun protection tops and suits which are made of lyrca. You can still get sunburnt through thin cotton clothing.
  • Check sunscreen expiry dates– Do not use sunscreen which has gone past its expiry date as it will not offer protection.
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  • Keep out of direct sunlight-Sun screens do not offer 100% protection so keeping out of direct sunlight is important.
  • Keep hydrated and drink plenty of fluids– to help prevent sun stroke and  other sun related illnesses


Jamie Crew, Deputy Head Nurse for Family Health at Nottingham University Hospitals, said: “We have seen an increase of children with sunburn at our hospital, due to the hot weather and a lack of sunscreen, and we would urge parents, carers and older children to be vigilant and stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.”


If you are concerned about your sunburn, the skin swells or blisters develop the burns team would advise you to contact your GP, go to your nearest NHS walk-in centre all call NHS 111.