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Health & Wellbeing

Sun advice for Crawley residents as high UV levels expected

The Met Office warns of high UV levels today, with temperatures reaching as high as 31°C. NHS Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group urges residents to protect themselves against the sun.

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People living and visiting Crawley are being urged to protect themselves against the sun this summer to reduce the risk of skin cancer as we head into another hot weekend.

The Met Office has warned of high UV levels between 11am and 2pm today, with temperatures reaching highs of 31°C.

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Temperatures are set to stay reasonably high over the weekend too, highs of 27°C are expected for both tomorrow and Sunday. Temperatures will be on the rise again for Monday and Tuesday, with highs of 29°C forecasted for Monday and 28°C on Tuesday.

Recent figures show that Crawley is above the national average for incidents of malignant melanoma, with 25.1 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the national average of 23.3 per 100,000.

NHS Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recommends following these tips to stay safe in the sun:

• Use at least factor 15 sunscreen and reapply every few hours
• Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
• Avoid getting sunburn
• Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
• Take extra care with children

Mild sunburn can usually be treated at home to help relieve you symptoms until your skin heals, without the need to visit a GP. The NHS recommends having a cold bath or shower to cool down the skin, or you can sponge your skin with cold water or hold a cold flannel against it. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and apply soothing lotions to moisturise the skin.

Dr Laura Hill, Clinical Chair at NHS Crawley CCG, said:

“We’re urging residents and visitors to our town to be aware of the dangers of being in the sun without protection.

“Going into shade, wearing clothing and sunglasses, and using sunscreen which is at least factor 15 with good UV-A protection on all exposed skin, will help reduce the risks we all face when going out in the sun for long periods.”

Anyone who feels unwell or concerned about their sunburn, particularly if you’re burnt over a large area or have any of the more severe symptoms (such as blistering or swelling of the skin) should call NHS 111, visit their GP or go to the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital.

Health & Wellbeing

Crawley vegan loses over 4 stone after joining Broadfield Weight Watchers

After deciding enough is enough, Geri joined Weight Watchers as a vegan and lost 64 and a half pounds.

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Geri Maloney from Broadfield lost 64 and a half pounds after joining Weight Watchers and going vegan.

This month, Broadfield resident Geri Maloney celebrated losing 4½ stone after joining  her local Weight Watchers group.

Geri had always battled with her weight but decided to join Weight Watchers after seeing a photograph of herself on a family holiday.

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Geri explains, “I’ve been overweight my whole adult life. My clothes size kept creeping up and although I was never happy with my size, I just accepted it. Every now and again I would attempt to lose weight; I would lose a stone, feel great and then put it all back on again.”

Following from pregnancy, Geri had gained more weight and decided to transition from vegetarian to vegan, in the hope that the plant-based diet may aid her weight-loss, however Geri still found that she struggled.

She said:

“As veganism is more mainstream now there are so many unhealthy options available that it is very easy to still eat junk food, which I did, and therefore didn’t lose weight. I would very rarely look in a full-length mirror and always tried to avoid having full-length photos taken because I would hate seeing myself.

“I gave up on wearing nice clothes and adopted a uniform of leggings and baggy tops which I thought disguised my weight, but when I saw a photo of me holding my daughter, I thought about what she would think of it when she is older. I didn’t want her to look at it and see the Mum who was too unfit to run around after her once she learnt to walk, or never wanted to go clothes shopping.”

Geri knew that she had to make a change, and after seeing a banner advertising her local Broadfield Weight Watchers meeting, she plucked up the courage to sign up.

“It was one of the best decisions I have ever made; walking in was a little daunting but the welcome that I received from my coach, Sharon and the rest of the members, made me relax in no time. I walked out feeling totally inspired and like I could take on the world!”

Since joining Weight Watchers Geri has learnt new healthy eating habits whilst still enjoying her vegan-friendly food. She says:

“In my first week I learnt how to use the Weight Watchers mobile phone app, and I had great fun walking round the supermarkets scanning all my favourite foods, and was surprised by how many of the foods I loved were not off limits. The Flex plan has encouraged me to start cooking more using some of the zero-point foods like tofu, lentils, chickpeas and beans – they’re so versatile and really good for padding out meals to make me feel full and satisfied for longer.”

Now Geri has reached her goal weight and became a Weight Watchers Gold member, she says it’s not just about the weight she has lost, but everything else that she has gained!

“Losing weight has increased my confidence and made me feel fitter. I can go out for a walk with my daughter and chase her around without needing to sit down and rest afterwards.”

A Gold membership is awarded to members once they have achieved their goal weight. As well as receiving a certificate for their achievement, Gold members can attend meetings free of charge and as often as they like, if they stay within 5lbs of their target weight.

Coach Sharon Ashborn says:

“I love Geri because she’s so funky and hip! She brings sparkle to the room, encourages and supports our other members and always contributes to the meeting talks. The best part is she inspires and amazes me with her vegan diet, and how she has continued to follow it alongside the Flex plan.

“As Geri continues to attend the meetings, I will continue to support and encourage her to continue with the fantastic work she has done so far to ensure she will stay on track and take control of her goals for good.”

When asked if she had one piece of advice for people considering joining Weight Watchers, she said, “stop thinking about it and do it, just join! Embrace it and you will achieve your goal!”

Sharon Ashborn runs six meetings a week across West Sussex:

Monday at 5.30pm – Broadfield Youth and Community Centre
Tuesday at 6.30pm – Southwater Leisure Centre
Thursday at 8.45 & 10am – Southwater Leisure Centre
Friday at 9.30am – Haywards Heath St Wilfrids Church Hall
Saturday at 9.45am – Broadfield Youth and Community Centre

To find out more about Sharon’s Weight Watchers meetings email sashborn@weight-watchers.co.uk or visit www.weightwatchers.com/uk to find out about other meetings.

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