Stay well this summer

Tips for staying safe and well during the summer

The information on this page comes from our stay well over summer information leaflet and the NHS website.

Summer Information Leaflet

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Staying cool while staying at home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that you know how to keep yourself and others safe from high temperatures.

It’s especially important to

  • Know how to keep your home cool
  • Look out for vulnerable family members or neighbours, safely
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol
  • Slow down, especially during the hottest part of the day (usually 11am to 3pm)
  • Stay updated with the forecasts for weather warnings, UV and pollen levels
  • Be aware of heat-related symptoms
  • Find cool places where you can still safely distance
  • Don’t be tempted to cool off in open water

For more information, download Beat the Heat: Coping with Covid-19

Preventing sun burn when out and about

Even if you’re just in and out of the garden when it’s not particularly sunny, you can still get burned, so

  • 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 call my GP practice?

If the skin is broken or inflamed and over the counter treatments aren’t easing the symptoms

Dealing with mild to moderate hay fever

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.

Over the counter treatments

  • 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 call my GP practice?

  • 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.

Find out more in our hay fever self care leaflet:

Hay fever self care leaflet

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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 call my GP practice?

  • If you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness.
  • If your symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days or are getting worse.
  • If you’ve been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes.

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:

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, 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.

Support our summer health campaign on social media

Please download our social media plan and help share these important messages

Summer social media plan