Make the most of these top tips to keep yourself well this summer.
1. Stay hydrated.
Make sure you drink plenty of water, not sugary or fizzy drinks, and cold water if possible. Drink little and often to keep hydrated instead of waiting until you get too hot and thirsty and then drinking too much too quickly.
If you’re checking in on elderly relatives or neighbours, you could suggest they keep a lidded plastic cup with a straw near their chair or bedside as a good way to keep water close by, easy to drink, and reduces the risk of spillages.
2. Stay cool.
Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothing if you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods of time. Wear a sunhat and UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to your eyes. Give yourself a break from the sun periodically and cool down in the shade to keep from overheating. Try to avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest period of the day (between 11am – 3pm).
What you eat can help you cool down, too. Eat cold foods, particularly salads, and fruit with high water content.
When indoors, keep your house cool by letting in cool air in the evening and early morning, and keeping curtains closed during daylight hours. Frozen bottles of water placed in front of a fan can help cool the air around you. Try to avoid swimming in local rivers and lakes, as tempting as they may seem, as these can have strong undercurrents and other dangers. If you see anyone in difficulties in the water call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
3. Apply sun cream.
Most of us don’t use enough sun cream or apply it correctly. As a rough rule of thumb, use about a teaspoon of sun cream to each area of your body to get maximum protection. That’s one teaspoon for your head, face and neck; one for each arm; one for each leg; one for your chest and abdomen; and one for your back and the back of your neck.
Choose a sun cream with at least SPF 50 with UVA protection and apply it at least 20 minutes before going outside to give it a chance to absorb into your skin. Reapply after swimming or sweating, or every 90 minutes, to get the protection factor listed on the bottle.
4. Stock your medicine cabinet.
Be sure your medicine cabinet has everything your family needs to manage common summer ailments illnesses. Keep a supply of paracetamol, ibuprofen, bite and sting creams, antihistamines and rash creams.
5. Be alert to the signs of heat-related harm.
If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, and avoid excess alcohol.
If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen) rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes and if not, they should seek medical help by calling NHS111.