Summer Health Tips
21st June 2019
Category: Working Carers
It’s official - Summer is here! It’s lovely to get out and enjoy the sunshine (in between the showers!!).
This month we thought we would look at a few common ailments often more associated with the summer months and information on how to look after yourself and the person you care for at this time of year.
Hayfever is a common allergic condition that affects up to 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives.
- Use over the counter remedies such as antihistamines as soon as you notice your symptoms or if you know there is going to be a high pollen count.
- Decongestant nasal sprays can be useful in relieving a blocked nose.
- Sometimes hayfever can cause eye symptoms such as watering, redness and itching. Eye-drops can help relieve this.
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help with headaches.
Insect stings can be sore and itchy for a few days but in most cases are harmless.
- Carefully remove the sting if visible and wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Raise that part of the body to reduce swelling and put a cold flannel on the area.
- If the sting is very painful try a spray or cream with local anaesthetic or mild hydrocortisone.
- Take an antihistamine tablet and a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with pain.
- Avoid scratching the area to prevent infection.
Protecting your skin from the sun with sunscreen is better than treating it. Most cases of sunburn can be treated at home.
- Cool the skin by sponging with lukewarm water or by having a cool shower or bath.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Aftersun helps to cool and moisturise your skin and can also help relieve the feeling of tightness.
- Paracetamol can be used to treat pain and control fever. Ibuprofen can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and lower a high temperature.
Prickly heat usually develops when a person sweats more than usual in hot or humid weather.
- Try to stay in the shade, avoiding the heat, and wear loose cotton clothing.
- Apply calamine lotion to sooth the affected area of skin.
Sickness and diarrhoea (gastroenteritis)
1 in every 5 people in England are affected by gastroenteritis every year. Most people improve after a few days.
- Make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. This is particularly important for young children, older people and if you have another illness.
- If you are more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, for example if you have a pre-existing condition, then you may require rehydration salts which are available in sachets from any pharmacy.
Dehydration means that your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it isn’t treated it can become a serious problem and babies, children and the elderly are more at risk.
- Symptoms of dehydration can include: feeling thirsty, dark and strong smelling pee (or very few pees), feeling dizzy, feeling tired, dry eyes, mouth and lips.
- Dehydration can happen easily if you have: diabetes, been vomiting or had diarrhoea, been out in the sun too long, drunk too much alcohol, sweated too much after exercising, had a high temperature of 38o or more, or are taking medication that makes you pee more.
- As soon as you feel any dehydration symptoms you should drink fluids. Keep taking small sips and gradually drink more if you can.
- You should drink enough during the day so that your pee is a pale clear colour.
- You should also drink whenever there is a higher risk of becoming dehydrated – for example if you’re sweating or vomiting.
If you are a carer, make sure the person you care for drinks enough.
- Make sure they have a drink with their meals.
- Make having a drink a social thing “having a cuppa”.
- Offer food with high water content such as soups and jellies, or fruit such as melon.
Remember dehydration can escalate really quickly and in some cases require urgent medical assistance.
Seek urgent medical help if you experience any of the following:
- Feeling unusually tired
- Confused or disorientated
- Dizziness that doesn’t go away
- You haven’t peed in 8 hours
- You have fits
- Your pulse is weak or rapid
All of the above information, and more can be found on the NHS website www.nhs.uk