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Have a healthy summer

Making the most of the summer means staying well. On this page there is a leaflet and a brief guide to some of the common summer ailments that can make the difference between holiday success and disaster including:

Hay fever

At last the sun has arrived and we can enjoy the perfume of our gardens in bloom. But for one in five of us this simply means hay fever misery with itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

Hay fever is an allergy to pollen, most commonly grass pollen. Whenever the pollen you’re allergic to is in plentiful supply, symptoms can make everyday life uncomfortable.

If tree pollen is the culprit, you are likely to suffer from March to May; if you’re allergic to grass pollen, you’ll be most affected from May to July; and if weeds are to blame you may be affected throughout spring and summer.

Hay fever can develop at any time with the severity of symptoms varying from year to year. Antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops provide effective relief and are available over the counter from your local pharmacy.

There are other simple remedies to try if you don’t fancy reaching straight for the medicine cabinet.

What can I do to reduce my exposure to pollen?

  • 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.

What can I use to treat hay fever?

Your local pharmacy will help you select a suitable product.

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

If you suffer regularly from hay fever, consider taking antihistamine tablets before the season kicks in.

When should I consult my GP?

If your symptoms are severe and are not relieved by trying the above remedies, consult your GP.

For more information, visit NHS Choices.

Stay safe in the sun

Nothing lifts the mood like a sunny day as everything bursts into colour, but stay sun savvy this summer.

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

If you have sunscreen leftover from last year, check the expiry date before use. 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.

Bites and stings

Midges, mosquitos, bees and wasps are a common summer hazard that drive many of us to distraction with skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Exposed skin on the face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and legs is a prime target for nasty nips, so protect yourself. Cover up or wear insect repellent to prevent bites. If you encounter bees or wasps, resist the urge to dance around flailing your arms and back away slowly.

Put netting over open doors and cover food and drink when eating outside 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, near your eye, or hands and feet
  • notice changes to your skin – blistering, swelling, rash etc.
  • If your symptoms are extreme and change rapidly, do not hesitate to call an ambulance.

For more information, click here




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