With Swindon expected to bask in sizzling summer sunshine for the next few days, health leaders across the town are calling on residents to enjoy the warm weather responsibly.

Temperatures look set to stay in the mid to high twenties for much of the week ahead, with forecasters suggesting that some locations, including Swindon, could see the mercury hit 30 degrees on Thursday.

But while the warm weather is a reason for many to rush outside and enjoy the sunshine, Swindon residents are being reminded not to underestimate the strength of the sun’s rays.

Dr Philip Mayes, Swindon CCG’s lead GP for cancer, said: “The messages around staying safe in the sun are well known but it’s always useful to be reminded, especially during extended periods of very warm weather.

“Always try to stick to the shade during the middle part of the day, which is when the sun is at its strongest. But, if you do have to go out, be sure to wear a hat, drink plenty of water and apply suncream to any exposed skin.

“And you don’t need to lie in the sun for hours to burn, it can happen surprisingly quickly and just from being outside and not properly covered up or protected.

“There’s no safe amount of sunburn, as every time a person’s skin is damaged by the sun, their risk of developing skin cancer increases.”

As well as taking precautions to protect their skin, sun seekers should also take extra steps to stay hydrated throughout any prolonged periods of hot weather.

Regularly drinking cold water, or other water-based drinks such as fruit squash, not only quenches thirst but helps to keep heat-related conditions, such as headaches, dizziness and drowsiness, at bay.

Although it’s tempting to head to the pub on a warm day, and even more so when big summer sporting events such as the World Cup and Wimbledon are taking place, alcoholic drinks will usually do the opposite of keeping a person cool.

As is always the advice when drinking, it’s best to follow each pint, glass of wine or spirit with a soft drink to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Cherry Jones, Director of Public Health at Swindon Borough Council, also emphasised the need to support vulnerable groups who may struggle more than most in the heat.

She said: “Look out for the very young, the older members of our community, as well as those with existing long-term conditions, as they may be less able to protect themselves against the risks of the hot weather.”

For more information about staying safe in the sun, visit www.nhs.uk and search for sun safety.