This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some cookies on this site are essential, and the site won't work as expected without them. Read More

Bilbrook Medical Centre

Bilbrook Medical Centre

Brookfield Road
Tel: 01902 847313
Fax: 01902 842322

Welcome to our website! We hope you find it useful.

Summer Health


Why should we be careful?


Nobody wants to spend the enitire summer indoors, and indeed some sunshine, below sunburn level, can be good for us, helping the body to create vitamin D and giving many of us a feeling of general wellbeing as we enjoy outdoor summer activities.


However, all too often we over-do our sun exposure which can lead to a range of skin problems, the most serious of which include skin cancer.


More than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are disgnosed annually in the UK, and while the disease can also occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight, extensive sun exposure is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of cases.  In more than four out of five cases skin cancer is a preventable disease.


What is SPF?


Sunscreens in the UK are labelled 'SPF'. This stands for 'sun protection factor', although the SPF is more accurately the sun burn protection factor, as it primarily shows the level or protection against UVB, not the protection against UVA. SPFs are rated on a scale of 6-50 based on the level of protection they offer, with ratings between 6 to 14 forming the least protected end of the spectrum and ratings of 50 offering the strongest forms of UVB protection. We recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 as a satisfacory form of sun protection in addition to protective shade and clothing.


UVA Star System


When you currently buy sunscreen containing UVA protection in the UK you may notice a UVA star rating on the packaging.  The stars range from 0 to 5 and indicate the percentage of UVA radiation absorbed by the sunscreen in comparison to UVB.


Its important to choose a high SPF as well as a high UVA protection (e.g. a high number of stars). Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are sometimes called 'broad spectrum'. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and a UVA rating of 4 or 5 stars is generally considered as a good standard of sun protection in addition to shade and clothing.


New EU ratings can be seen in the table below


  New Label    SPF
  Low protection    6 to 14 (i.e. SPF 6 AND 10)
  Medium protection    15 to 29 (i.e. SPF 15, 20 and 25)
  High protection    30 to 50 (i.e. SPF 30 and 50)
  Very high protection    50 ( i.e. SPF 50 )


According to the EU Recommendatin, the UVA protection for each sunscreen should be at least a third of the labelled SPF. A product that achieves this requirement will be labelled with a UVA logo, the letters 'UVA' printed in a circle.


One application a day sun protection products


You may be aware of some protection products, which offer 8 or more hours protection from one application of cream.


It is worth noting that people do not apply sunscreen correctly. They may miss difficult to reach places, such as the back. We forget that water will remove the product prematurely. Therefore the issue with once per day sun protectors is that they only work if applied correctly and if not prematurely removed.


We generally recommend sunscreen is reapplied liberally every 2-3 hours to ensure that exposed areas are protected.


How should I apply sunscreen?


Studies have found that most people apply less than half of the amount required to provide the level of protection indicated on the packaging. Areas such as the back and sides of the neck, temples and ears are commonly missed, so you need to apply it generously and be careful not to miss patches.


'Water resistance' is tested by the ability of a sunscreen to retain its sun protection properties following two 20 minute intervals of moderate activity in water.  However, up to 85 percent of a product can be removed by towel drying, so you should reapply after swimming.


Another important facor is the reflection of the suns rays, which can greatly increase the power of the radiation, by the following percentages: snow up to 85% increase, sand up to 17% increase, water up to 5% increase.


Will I still tan through sunscreen?


You may tan (even if you dont want to) through a low to medium SPF sunscreen due to the tiny amount of ultraviolet which gets through, unless you very carefully and regularly apply lots of high SPF sunscreen with high UVA protection too. If no ultraviolet gets through, no damage and therefore no tanning can occur.


Our top sun safety tips

  • Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it is sunny
  • Use a 'high protection' sunscreen of at least SPF 30 which also has high UVA protection and make sure you apply it generously and frequently when in the sun
  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight
  • The British Association of Dermatologists recommends that you tell your doctor about any hcanges to a mole - if your GP is concernec about your skin, they will refer you via the NHS to a consultant dermatologst.

World UV App


Developed in conjunction with the Met Office, the British Association of Dermatologists created the World UV App which provides real time information on daily UV levels across over 10,000 locations from across the globe.


The free app, available on both iPhone and Android operating systems, uses GPS to pinpoint you location and provide you with relevant UV information.  In addition the app will provide you with relevant UV information. In addition advice on protection your skin from the sun.


This app can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store and Google Play.


Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection.


Sunscreen and Sun Safety


Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer and it doesn't just happen on holidays abroad. You can burn in the uk even when it is cloudy.


Tips for staying safe in the sun

In the UK the sun is at its strongest from March to October, typically between 11am and 3pm. This will vary from country to country.


  • Make sure you spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
  •  Never burn.
  •  Cover up with long, loose fitting suitable clothing, hats and sunglasses.
  •  Extra care is needed with children and babies.



When buying sunscreen the British Association of Dermatologists recommend using a cream with a sun protection factor (spf) of 30 to protect against UVB and at least a 4 star UVA protection. Make sure your sunscreen is not past its expiry date.


Protect your eyes in the sun

You can have a temporary but painful burn to the eye which is similar to sunburn.  This can happen at the beach and from sunlight reflection from snow and water.


Appropriate clothing and sunglasses can help to protect against sunburn.


  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunglasses with a CE mark and European standard.


Skin Changes

You should seek the advice of your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin, including:

  • A new mole, growth or lump
  • Any changes to existing moles such as size, shape and colour.
  • Any changes to freckles or patches of skin.

Remember skin cancer is easier to treat if found early!


For more sunscreen and sun safety information click on the link below


Sun Awareness - British Association of Dermatologists



Barbecue food safety


It's important to cook food thoroughly at a barbecue to avoid food poisoning. Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning.


The two main risk factors to cooking on the barbecue are:

  • undercooked meat
  • spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat

This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter. However, it’s easy to kill these germs by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout.


When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure:

  • The coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they're hot enough.
  • Frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it.
  • You turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly.

Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:

  • It is piping hot in the centre.
  • There is no pink meat visible.
  • Any juices are clear.




Hay Fever


Hay fever affects around 20% of people in the UK. Lindsey McManus of Allergy UK offers some tips on avoiding the causes and reducing your symptoms.


"The main triggers of hay fever are tree and grass pollen,” says Lindsey. “The pollen count is always higher when it’s a nice, bright, sunny day.”


Top Tips:

  • If grass makes you sneeze, get someone else to mow your lawn. If you react to grass and you spend time on the lawn, you'll get symptoms.
  • Create a barrier by smearing Vaseline inside your nostrils.
  • Don’t sit outside between 4pm and 7pm or in the early morning, as the pollen count is highest at these times.
  • Don’t sleep or drive with the windows open, as this will allow pollen to come in.
  • Damp dust regularly.
  • Wash your hair. Pollen is sticky and may be in your hair.
  • Vacuum. Pollen can live in carpet for up to three months.
  • Talk to your GP or pharmacist about any treatment you’re taking for hay fever as it might be worth trying a new treatment. The same antihistamine [anti-allergy treatment] doesn’t always work for someone year after year. Try something different, such as a nasal spray or a new antihistamine.

Allergy UK helpline: 01322 619898






Knowing how to treat an insect sting and how to recognise when it needs medical attention will help you do the right thing if you or your child are stung.


Insects such as wasps and bees sting as a defence mechanism (when they feel in danger) by injecting poisonous venom into the skin. For most people, stings are painful but harmless. But some people can have an immediate allergic reaction to being stung, which can be very dangerous.


Click here to read more.

Choose font size: A A A

Total visitors:283562 | Disclaimer