Northern Ireland news

Heatwave leads to spike in number of sunburn cases seeking medical treatment

There has been an increase in the number of people going to hospital with sunburn

MORE than 200 people were treated for sunburn in hospitals across Northern Ireland during the heatwave.

Health officials warned that the increase in the number of patients was impacting on an already overstretched service.

The Belfast Trust saw the biggest number of cases, with 69 people needing treatment after being exposed to sun for too long, according to figures from the BBC.

Earlier this week it emerged there has been a massive spike in patients facing lengthy delays in hospital A&E departments.

Over the past year, the number of attendances waiting in excess of 12 hours increased from 294 to 1,358.

The Health and Social Care Board urged people with sunburn to be mindful when using emergency healthcare services, advising them to contact out-of-hours GPs and pharmacists before travelling to hospital.

"By choosing the right care for you, this will help ensure that emergency departments are used appropriately and ease pressures on the service," a board spokesman said.

The Public Health Agency warned that one episode of sunburn could double the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

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Northern Ireland news