Isolation diary: Feeling the sun on my skin

On a hot day like today, the one thing you would love to see is a photo of naked cyclists, right?

I had been trying to find this photo amongst the many thousands of pictures on my laptop, but I couldn’t remember when it was taken. Then yesterday it popped up on Facebook under the ‘See your memories’ feature. It was taken nine years ago in Bristol.

We were driving down to visit our son and his family and were stopped at the end of the M32 by around 100 cyclists circling the roundabout. And none of them had any clothes on. It was a joyful sight and made me smile. I managed to get a quick snap through the car window as we waited for them to go past.

Now I’m not a naturist, but, being a good liberal, I have no problem with people who are. In fact, the quantity of clothes that people wear on our favourite beach on Fuerteventura decreases to zero the further you get away from the hotel. Whilst staying there we discovered that the chaplain of the Anglican church in Correlejo was a leading light in the Christian Naturist Fellowship.

Which brings me naturally to vitamin D. I burn easily in the sun and I tend to seek out any shade on a sunny day. There is also a family history of skin cancer, so I tend to cover up when I am out in the summer. A few years ago I went to see my GP because I was aching all over but didn’t appear to have an infection. He arranged for a blood test and diagnosed vitamin D deficiency. I was prescribed a high dose of the vitamin for the next three months then told to reduce it down to 25 micrograms per day, which I continue to take everyday, and my aches have not returned.

It seems an awful lot of us in this country – up to 20% – do not get enough exposure to the sun and are in need of vitamin D supplements, especially in the winter months. According to the NHS, people with dark skin are at particular risk of not getting enough vitamin D from the sun in the UK. The NHS is also advising people who have not been outdoors much during lockdown to take the vitamin. You do have to be careful about not overdosing, and for most people with low vitamin D levels, 10 micrograms per day is enough.

So do enjoy this beautiful weather. Be careful in the sun, protect yourself, but be aware that you might need to take vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter.




Please note

We have been in full self-isolation since 16th March to protect my husband whose immune system is compromised.

If you are in self-isolation then join the Lib Dems in self-isolation Facebook group.

You can find my previous Isolation diaries here.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Peter Hayes 25th Jun '20 - 7:04pm

    Too much sun can be dangerous. My Mum had non malignant skin cancer, lots of what she called knife and fork operations to cut out patches. My uncle, a keen gardner had more serious skin cancer that was malignant, he asked my mum about a lump on his back and she said doctor on Monday, it was fatal. Be careful and ask before it is too late.

  • In hot countries people cover up in fact. There is a big line in skin lightening products in the far east.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Jun '20 - 7:55am

    “Too much sun can be dangerous”

    Quite. And UV levels have been very high recently – one factor thought to be less scattering of UV light as a result of lower air pollution levels.

  • John Marriott 26th Jun '20 - 2:15pm

    Exposure to sunlight (but not on a crowded beach at the moment) can significantly increase Vitamin D levels, which improves the body’s immune system. My wife and I have been taking a Vitamin D pill daily since last year, together with other supplements and, touch wood, were free from colds last winter.

    Apparently people with dark skins do not absorb such high levels of Vitamin D from sunlight, which may be a factor in their being more susceptible to things like COVID-19.

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