Heatwave – It’s rare for our weather to get really hot, which is why it can be more dangerous if a heatwave does strike, simply because we’re not used to it. The key risks in hot weather are dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which is a potential killer. The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are particularly at risk, and hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse. Keep cool by wearing loose clothing, having cool baths or showers, and staying in the coolest room in the house. Drink plenty of cold fluids, but avoid alcohol. Check on any vulnerable friends or neighbours, and seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don’t go away.
Fun in the sun – It’s the holiday season, and we all know the drill when it comes to sun protection, yet many of us will still get caught out, both abroad and here at home. Sunburn can be unpleasant and very sore and can increase your chances of developing serious health problems, such as skin cancer, later in life. Use at least SPF15 suncream, avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm) and cover up!
Hayfever – Summer is no joke for hay fever sufferers. Before you stock up on antihistamines, have a chat with your pharmacist – they will be able to advise you on the right combination of products and self-care to combat your hayfever. If your symptoms are so bad that they are interfering with your daily life despite taking antihistmines, see your GP.
Food safety – It’s important to cook food thoroughly at a barbecue to avoid food poisoning. Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning. The two main risk factors to cooking on the barbecue are, undercooked meat and spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat. Remember that meat is safe to eat only when it is piping hot in the centre, there is no pink meat visible and juices are clear – and remember to wash your hands when handling food.