How can you prepare yourself for all that the British summer might send your way?
What can I do to help prevent sunburn?
- Regularly apply and re-apply a high factor sun protection cream every few hours.
- Re-apply sun protection cream after swimming or exposure to water
- Avoid exposure to the midday heat when temperatures are at the highest
- Wear suitable clothing to provide sun protection, e.g. t-shirts, hats, etc.
What if I still get sunburn?
Over the counter treatments like after sun creams and calamine lotion can be bought from local pharmacies and some supermarkets and are often the best solution to protecting the body against the sun. Buying your own medicines helps your local NHS.
When should I see a GP?
If the skin is broken or inflamed and over the counter treatments aren’t easing the symptoms.
Dealing with mild to moderate hayfever
There are a number of things you can do to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high:
- Put vaseline around your nostrils and wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your nose and eyes.
- Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash pollen off.
- Stay indoors whenever possible and keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.
- Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.
Treatments available to buy over the counter include:
- Antihistamines – are usually effective at treating itching, sneezing and watery eyes. They are available in tablet form and also a nasal spray and eye drops.
- Corticosteriod nasal sprays and drops – can help reduce the inflammation inside of your nose and prevent the symptoms of hay fever.
- Corticosteroid tablets – your GP may prescribe you with a course of corticosteroid tablets for five to seven days if you require rapid short-term relief from severe hay fever symptoms.
- Nasal decongestants – this can relieve a blocked nose by reducing the swelling of the blood vessels in your nose making breathing easier.
- Eye drops – treat hay fever symptoms that affect your eyes, such as redness, itchiness and watering.
- Immunotherapy – if you have persistent hay fever symptoms that are not relieved by the above, you may be referred for immunotherapy. This involves gradually introducing you to small amounts of pollen and monitoring your allergic reaction in a controlled environment.
Always read the information leaflet provided with any medicines before you take or apply them.
When should I see a GP?
- If your symptoms are not relieved by over-the-counter treatments in combination with measures to reduce your exposure to pollen.
- If you are experiencing wheezing, breathlessness or tightness in your chest.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
To treat an insect bite or sting:
- Remove the sting if it’s still in the skin, then wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Avoid scratching the area to reduce the risk of infection.
Treatments available to buy over the counter include antihistamine creams or soothing creams or gels. Always read the information leaflet provided with any medicines before you take or apply them.
When should I see a GP?
- You have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness.
- Your symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days or are getting worse.
- You’ve been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes.
Extra precautions may need to be taken if you’re travelling to part of the world where there’s a risk of serious illness. For example to help prevent malaria. It can help to:
- Find out what the risks are where you intend to travel – use the country guide on NHS Fit for Travel – www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.
- Check if you need any vaccinations before travelling – vaccines can prevent some illnesses spread by insects, such as yellow fever. Check NHS Fit for Travel for advice about specific destinations.
- Speak to your GP about any extra precautions and medication you might need to take – for example, if you’re visiting an area where there’s a risk of malaria, you may be advised to bring a mosquito net and take antimalarial tablets to avoid malaria.
Do you have an insect bite or sting that needs treatment
There are a number of things you can do to avoid insect bites and stings:
- Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter hornets or bees.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers and wearing shoes when outdoors.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.
Self help guides
These handy guides can help you for a range of minor health concerns that can happen over summer:
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Bites and stings
- Coughs and colds **
- Children’s fever
- Helping a drunk person
- Sprains and strains
For more information and advice visit the summer health pages on NHS Choices
Choosing the right NHS service
Remember A&E is not anything and everything and should only be used for life threatening illnesses or injuries. Before you consider going to A&E why not call NHS 111 who can give you the advice and support you need.
Find out more about local services that could help you should the weather take its toll.
Download the below documents to learn more about staying well this summer.