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Keep well this summer

22 May 2014


With summer approaching and half term around the corner many of us will be spending more time outdoors or planning day trips and holidays away.

However making the most of the sun and warmer weather can also bring some health risks and problems and it is important to be aware of these in order to stay well and get the most out of the summer months.

As the weather gets sunnier and warmer it is common for many of us to suffer  ailments like sun burn, hay fever or insect bites and stings but there are some simple advice you can follow to help reduce these problems.

Below are lots of useful tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe, well and healthy.

Hay fever

One in five of us will have hay fever – itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

To reduce exposure to pollen you should:

  • Keep windows closed at home if possible and in the car. Consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents in your car (air vents should be changed at every service).
  • Avoid cutting grass and being in large grassy spaces.
  • Wear a filtered mask and protective glasses when cleaning, and keep your house clean.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when out and about.
  • When coming in from outdoors, wash your face, hands and hair and rinse your eyes to avoid leaving traces of pollen on your pillow.
  • Stay indoors if possible when the pollen count is high.
  • Apply petroleum jelly inside your nostrils to avoid contact with pollen.

To treat hay fever your local pharmacist will help you pick a suitable product which may include:

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays
  • Steroid nasal sprays
  • Eye drops  

You should consult your GP if your symptoms are severe and are not relieved following a trial of the items listed above alongside measures to reduce exposure to pollen, consult your GP. For more information, visit NHS Choices.

 

Staying safe in the sun

Look after you and your family’s skin and apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that protects you against UVA and UVB (the two main types of damaging sunlight). Remember to reapply regularly, especially after swimming.

Check the expiry date before you use it. Never use out of date sun cream as it won’t protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Stay safe in the sun by:

  • seeking shade between 11am and 3pm
  • wearing a hat ideally with a brim and sunglasses
  • drinking plenty of water to avoid overheating
  • keeping an eye on any moles and getting them checked by your doctor if any of them change, itch, bleed or spread

Young children are especially vulnerable as their skin is delicate and very easily damaged by the sun so cover them up with a hat and t-shirt. For more information, click here.

 

Insect bites and stings

Exposed skin on the face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and legs are a prime target for nasty nips, so protect yourself - cover up or wear insect repellent to prevent bites.

Putting netting over open doors and covering food and drink when eating outside can also be effective measures to discourage unwanted guests this summer.

Most insect bites and stings cause itching and swelling but no matter how tempting it is, try not to scratch. Instead, clean the affected area with soap and water or cover with a damp cloth. Then treat using a mild hydrocortisone cream, available over the counter at your local pharmacy.

In rare cases, people may experience anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction requiring immediate medical treatment. 

Seek treatment for a bite or sting if you: 

  • have difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • feel faint or dizzy
  • experience swellings in for example your lips, hands and feet
  • notice changes to your skin – blistering, swelling, a rash etc. 

If your symptoms are extreme and changing rapidly, do not hesitate to call an ambulance.

Notes to editors

For more information please contact BCCG communications team on 01525 864406

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