In the Surgery ... when it’s cool to use old sun cream

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We are going on an extended break to Florida. Is it okay to use suncream that I bought last year?

Sun cream has a shelf-life of two or three years, as long as it’s not stored at high temperatures or in direct sunlight. So, make sure you pop it in your beach bag or cool box on the beach and don’t leave it lying around in your car.

Remember you should never use sun cream after the use-by date because you won’t be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. If in doubt, choose a sun cream with a higher SPF so that you don’t burn. Cancer Research UK suggest sticking to sun cream of SPF 15 or more.

When buying sunscreen, make sure it is suitable for your skin type, and blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) radiation. In most cases, sun protection factor 15 (SPF 15) should be suitable for the British climate, but you may need a higher SPF in hotter climates.

Sunscreen should be applied around 15 minutes before going out into the sun, and reapplied every two hours. If you are planning to spend time in the water, you should use a waterproof sunscreen.

How do I report side effects from a medicine?

Sometimes, medicines cause unwanted side effects. Reporting these can help to ensure that medicines are made safer in the future.

Any medicine can cause side effects. However, some are not known about until many people have used a medicine for a long time.

If you think your medicine is causing other symptoms, it’s best to report it, even if you’re not sure. You can also make a report on behalf of your child or someone else you’re responsible for.

If you think your medicine has caused an unwanted side effect the safest and simplest way is a call or visit to your GP or pharmacist depending on the side effect and its severity. You can also report it through the Yellow Card Scheme.

Visit yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk and complete a form online or pick up a Yellow Card form from your GP surgery or your local pharmacy. You can also call the freephone hotline on 0808 100 3352 (weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). If you’re worried, speak to your GP or pharmacist. You can also call NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24.

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