Safety in the Sun while on Holiday

Hey, we're not here to be party-poopers and we're certainly not going to warn you away from Ibiza's many fabulous beaches, but we thought a short guide to sun protection wouldn't go amiss. We know you're not daft, but catching a nasty burn in the height of the summer is surprisingly easy, and the results can put a serious crimp in your holiday.

Sun Protection Factor.

What is it? SPF is the factor number on your bottle of oil. It is a very rough guide to the amount of protection given from the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UV). The general idea is that someone who will burn in twenty minutes can apply factor 15 and be safe in the sun for five hours. A warning right now - while this is an industry-wide scale, it is in fact an imperfect system, and there are other aspects that have to be considered.

These include:

Your skin type. If you're olive-skinned and prone to tanning you'll probably get by with a lower factor than your fair-skinned friends.

The amount of oil your skin has absorbed. I know the oils can be expensive, but this is not the time to skimp, so slap it on.

The time of day. Bear in mind the sun is at its strongest in the middle of the day.

The amount you either sweat or swim. Obviously, you should reapply oil after taking a dip, as the Med will have cleansed your skin of oil. Less obviously, if you're playing games or taking any form of exercise then naturally your perspiration rate increases, and this removes the oil from your skin along with the sweat.

The Star Guide.

In the UK, Boots have introduced a 'star' rating system which has been adopted outside the chain itself. It is not a bad system at all, and the upshot is that you only need to understand the basics. One star - bad. Five stars - good. See how easy that is? Champion stuff. Our advice is to not worry about the expense and aim for the stars.

Dehydration.

Now, sunburn is not the only worry when you're being pelted with sunshine day in, day out. Obviously, if the beach you've chosen is well serviced by bars and restaurants, then this advice may well not apply to you, but for those of you who choose that little beach in the middle of nowhere, or those who choose a hike through the hills in the middle of the day, then bear in mind that dehydration is another little concern to watch out for.

Your body is made up of a high percentage of water (75 per cent, approximately) and the point is that you need to replace that water on a constant and regular basis. So whether you're off to the beach or fancy a trek through the wilderness, take plenty of water with you. At least one litre per person is a minimum, as a rule.

How to spot dehydration.

If you experience dizziness, headaches, or white spots before the eyes, then there's a chance you may be suffering dehydration. To combat this in the first instance, simply drink water, lots of it. These are the first and easiest signs. More advanced dehydration may include symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. In such cases there is an emergency number to call. 112. Don't hesitate, as advanced dehydration is not just dangerous, it can prove fatal.

Heatstroke.

Now we are getting into the realms of serious, life-threatening stuff. Heatstroke will prove fatal if not treated quickly, and the symptoms to look out for are:

High body temperature
Rapid heartbeat
Shallow breathing
Lack of sweating
Dizziness
Headaches
Nausea
Fainting
Unpredictable mood swings, including confusion and irritability

If you suspect heatstroke, dial the emergency number, don't hang about, and try to keep the victim cool. Wet, cold towels may help, as will air fanned onto the body, make sure they drink plenty of water if possible. But do not panic. Heatstroke is incredibly rare in Ibiza.

Okay, that's quite enough of the bad news. Get yourself to the beaches, have a good time and grab a good tan. Take fluids, suntan oil, and a half-sensible attitude and you'll have a major time on holiday in Ibiza.

See you in the sunshine!