Advice on Keeping Fit and Healthy over Summer
Heatstroke is the most common Summer hazard, caused when your body has difficulty in cooling itself down. During a heatstroke, sufferers stop sweating and can become delirious, lose consciousness, and faint. Other symptoms of heatstroke include extremely high body temperatures and short and rapid breathing. Heatstroke can lead to serious complications and the victim may die if not treated in time.
Victims of heatstroke need immediate medical attention. To help prevent it, always wear a hat and light clothing when you are in the sun. Drink plenty of water and in general avoid engaging in physical activity in the sun. Take on water before you feel thirsty. Once you feel a thirst, you're already dehydrated. Try eating more fruit such as grapes, watermelon, bananas and pineapple as all these fruits contain high water levels and sugars.
Consumption of fruits and juices reduces body heat and helps to control body temperature.
SkincareGoing out in the sun without protecting your skin is an invitation to trouble. To prevent your skin from getting burnt and to retain your original skin complexion, never go out without applying sunscreen lotion.
During summer, ultraviolet rays are more intense and can damage your skin in a short space of time. There are many sunscreen lotions available. Choose the one that suits your skin type. The most common and effective sunscreen lotions contain SPF level 15 or above. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours and if swimming reapply after coming out of the water.
Lack of skincare and excess exposure to the sun causes sunburn. The skin swells up and turns red in colour. There is a burning and itching sensation. In extreme cases, blisters are formed. As the skin heals, the outer cover will start peeling off.
Sunburn is caused due to exposure to ultraviolet rays. Therefore, using a sunscreen lotion will protect the skin from sunburn too. If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable not to go out in the sun between 12 noon and 5 in the evening. An additional precaution is to use an umbrella to guard you from the direct sun rays.
Sensitive skin is highly prone to skin allergies or rashes during Summer. The slightest irritation caused by sun rays, chemicals or even dust can cause allergies. If you are prone to allergies, even after taking necessary precautions, consult a dermatologist.
Chlorine is not good for your skin, hair and nails leaving them dry, brittle and flaky. It adds an additional load to your body - another chemical for your body to assimilate and eliminate.Wash off chlorine as soon as you step out of a swimming pool or hot tub.
Prickly HeatPrickly heat is an uncomfortable condition of the skin which is caused by excess sweating and exposure to direct heat. The skin turns red in colour, causing a prickling sensation. The dead skin cells and bacteria block the pores of the sweat glands. This results in irritation and eruption of tiny spots or blisters.
To prevent prickly heat, avoid wearing extra tight clothes. Wear loose cotton clothes. If you are wearing any other material, make sure that the fabric can breathe air. Avoid wearing silk and lycra during Summer. Take regular baths and make an extra effort to clean armpits and other areas of skin folds, use an anti-bacterial soap and avoid moisturiser and heavy make-up.
Hay FeverHay fever season for many people occurs during the Summer months. Whilst not completely unavoidable, there are actions that can be taken to reduce suffering in addition to over-the-counter medicines.
There are certain times of the day when pollen levels are at their highest. Generally, the pollen counts peak at between 9am and 12pm. Then they lower until about 5pm when they rise until about 7pm, try to avoid being outside during these periods. Start each day with a bath or shower to remove any pollen which may have settled on your body during the night. Eat a good breakfast including fresh fruit, rich in vitamin C. A healthy breakfast will help the body's natural immune system to fight the effects of hay fever. Similarly at lunchtime, eat healthily, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid junk foods like chips and burgers. When returning home from work, changing your clothes and washing will help remove any pollen you have picked up during the day.
By around 8pm most of the pollen will have settled on the ground, and this is often the most comfortable time of the day for hay fever sufferers. If you still feel a bit stuffy, try a face sauna. Fill a bowl with hot water, put a towel over your head, then hold your face over the steam and breathe. If you are tired the symptoms can become much worse, so get a regular amount of sleep each night. Again, this will help your body's natural immune system fight the symptoms.
Eye CareUltraviolet rays will not only damage your skin but will also damage your eyes, which could lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. So don't forget to wear sunglasses that filter out 100% of ultraviolet light to protect your eyes.
Insect BitesAlthough insect bites and stings occur all year round, they are more prevalent during the Summer months. In the UK, bites can come from midges, gnats, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, mites, ticks and bedbugs. Saliva in these insects can react with the skin and cause inflammation, pain and itching. Insect stings from wasps, bees and hornets involve venom injected into the skin. This will cause a burning sensation and swelling which can be soothed with a cream or spray. Although uncommon, some people are allergic to stings. If you have an allergic reaction to stings you should seek medical advice.
Food PoisoningSummer is a time of picnics and barbecues, and these involve bringing food out into the open where it can stay warm too long. Avoid an outbreak of food poisoning this Summer by following simple guidelines about food safety and food handling. Being aware of the food temperature and applying common sense will prevent you and your friends and family from coming down with a food-borne illness.
If you are going on holiday or a business trip, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If travelling through the EU, the EHIC Card entitles you to state-provided medical treatment at reduced cost or sometimes free, if you become ill or have an accident during your stay.Â
The EHIC Card also covers: Treatment for long-term and existing illnesses, such as dialysis for kidney disease,and Routine maternity care.
Each country's healthcare system is slightly different, so your EHIC Card may not cover everything that would be free on the NHS. Many countries expect patients to pay towards their treatment but you may be able to claim the money back. For further information visit www.nhs.uk.