Summer health - top ways to keep well
There's something about
When we've waited so long for the sun, it can be hard to remember how damaging too much can be. At best, there's the misery of sunburn or heat exhaustion. At worst, getting burnt in particular hugely raises your chance of skin cancer.
Never forget that by the time your skin starts to look red, the damage has been done - get out of the sun before you start to colour, or even better avoid full sunshine in hot climates. Wide-brimmed hats are a particular boon for men with less hair than they once
Heat exhaustion can also creep up on you quickly. It's largely down to dehydration causing a drop in blood pressure, and old and young, along with people with diabetes using insulin or those with heart or kidney problems are at biggest risk. Keep your (non-alcoholic) fluid intake up in hot weather. Symptoms include rapid heart rate,
Get your zeds
Long days and light evenings/early mornings can disrupt your sleep pattern too. Keep your bedroom really dark with thick curtains, and turn off glowing electrical equipment (including digital alarms) at the plug. Avoid excess alcohol, heavy meals or caffeine close to bedtime.
Bites and stings
Insects love summer just like us - and that includes
Very rarely, stings can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction, with a blotchy rash all over your body, swelling of your face (including tongue and lips), palpitations, wheezing, breathlessness and fainting. This is always a medical emergency - call an ambulance, and use an adrenaline pen if you've been given one because you've had a similar reaction before. Unless you have an allergic reaction, cold compresses will ease stings, antihistamine tablets will reduce irritation and paracetamol will help
Food poisoning: the 4cs
Food poisoning is a surefire way to ruin your summer fun - and if you've given it to your guests as well, you could be very unpopular! About 100,000 cases a year are reported in the UK but that's probably a huge underestimate. To avoid this misery, follow the four Cs:
- Cleanliness (washing not just your hands but tea towels and cleaning sponges regularly)
- Cooking (reheat food until it's piping hot, never reheat it more than once, and remember that pink is pretty in a dress but not in your barbecued food!)
- Chilling (return food, including rice, to the fridge quickly and throw it away if it's been sitting outside for hours while you finish your lunch)
- Cross-contamination (use separate boards and knives for preparing cooked and raw food, and keep them on separate shelves in the fridge).
More hot tips!
· Before venturing into the sea, check for jellyfish - they're the most frequent cause of
· Your eyes can suffer damage from
With thanks to 'My Weekly' magazine where this article was originally published.