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Summer health tips and advice

Summer means longer days, nicer weather, trips away and more time outdoors. But, it can also mean an increase in seasonal mishaps and illnesses.

Be prepared and view summer health advice to keep you and your loved ones safe and well.

Medicine and first aid

Make sure you have some over-the-counter medicines at home for common illnesses. It’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit available.

Your pharmacist can advise you on the best medicines for you and your family.

Consider keeping the following at home:

paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief (check the label or speak to your pharmacist to check it’s suitable for you)
— anti-histamines to help allergies
— anti-diarrhoeal medication for diarrhoea
— rehydration sachets
indigestion remedies like an antacid
— mild laxatives for constipation
— a first aid kit with plasters, bandages and antiseptic wipes for cuts and scrapes, and ice packs for any minor sprains or strains
— a thermometer to check for fevers
— medicines specifically for children (your pharmacist can advise on the most suitable ones to keep in the house)

Remember to always follow the advice on the pack and do not get too much as medicines go out of date.

Prescribed medication and travel

If you rely on regular medicine, remember to take this with you when you travel away from home, even if it’s only for 1 or 2 nights.

You should check you have enough medication to cover all of your trip. If you need to order more, only order what you need and order it in plenty of time.

BBQ food preparation advice

It’s common to fire up the BBQ in sunny weather. But, it’s important to follow food safety advice. This helps to avoid contaminating your food and food poisoning.

Avoiding bugs and germs outdoors

The summer months are an opportunity to get out and enjoy outdoor spaces. This can be brilliant for both your physical and mental health. But, be mindful that a small number of people each year are affected by infections caught outdoors.

> Get information on avoiding bugs and germs outdoors

> Learn about Lyme disease symptoms, causes, treatment, and when to speak to your GP

> Discover how to prevent tick bites and how to remove ticks

Health conditions caused by hot weather

It’s tempting to make the most of the outdoors when the sun comes out. But, it’s important to do it safely and be aware of the effects of the sun’s heat and rays.

Stay safe in the sun

You can reduce the amount of UV radiation damage from the sun by following some precautions.

Find out what to do if you get sunburn

Signs of heatstroke

Sometimes being in the sun is unavoidable but there’s guidance on how to ‘beat the heat’ and stay safe in hot weather.

The signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke include:

— tiredness
— weakness
— feeling faint
— headache
— muscle cramps
— feeling or being sick
— heavy sweating
— intense thirst

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they will need to be cooled down. To do this, they should:

— be moved to a cooler place, like a shaded room indoors
— have unnecessary or extra clothing removed
— drink extra fluids – for example cool water or rehydration drinks, or foods with a high water content like an ice lolly
— apply cool water to exposed skin through spraying or sponging

Heat exhaustion is not normally serious if the person is treated within 30 minutes and symptoms begin to improve. But, if no steps are taken to cool the person down, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke. This is a medical emergency.

Phone 111 if you’re worried about symptoms or your symptoms are getting worse. Phone 999 in an emergency or if you think someone has heatstroke.

Bumps, bruises and other accidents

Being out and about in nicer weather can increase the likelihood of accidents.

Minor injuries

Carry a small first aid kit help to deal with minor ailments, like cuts, grazes and blisters.

Trips or falls

Trips, slips or falls while exploring or playing outdoors are common. Sometimes, these can cause damage to the muscles, bones or joints.

Find out more about musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions

Insect bites and stings

Find out how to treat insect bites and stings.

Open water swimming

Swimming in open water like lochs, rivers, seas and reservoirs has become very popular in Scotland. But, you should be aware of the risks of swimming in these areas. These include:

— poor water quality (contaminated water)
— drowning
— cold water shock
— currents and rip tides

Further information on how to swim safely in Scotland’s outdoor water

Right care, right place

The way we access urgent care has changed. If you need more help, it’s important that you know how to get the right care, in the right place.

Find out more information on right care, right place and how to access the correct local services in your area

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