Summer Health

with Dr Lamah and Reem El-Sharkawi Dr Lamah El-Sharkawi is a GP in Uplands and Mumbles Surger and her sister Reem El-Sharkawi is a GP Pharmacist, both are part of the Bay Cluster Network

We are all looking forward to the warmer weather (hopefully!) in Swansea over the summer months; however this time of year can increase risk of injuries, heatstroke and sun exposure. This month we will focus on health hazards and look at how they can be avoided so we can enjoy the Swansea sun safely!

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion is where your body gets too hot. This can cause symptoms like headache, dizziness and confusion. It can usually be managed by allowing the body to cool down by moving to a cool place and drinking plenty of fluids.  Heat exhaustion can be avoided by avoiding strenuous activity, drinking plenty of water and wearing loose clothing.

Heat stroke can develop if someone is still feeling unwell following 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of fluids. You may have a high temperature, fast breathing or shortness of breath, lose consciousness or have a fit (seizure). This is a medical emergency and should be managed by seeking urgent medical help and calling 999.

Sunburn

When the weather is warmer, we tend to spend more time outdoors, this can be a danger for our largest organ – the skin.  Excessive sun exposure without adequate sun protection can not only age the skin with wrinkles, fine lines and sun spots but can also increase you risk of skin cancer.

Try to limit sun exposure during the warmest parts of the day 11am – 3pm but most importantly sun protection should be applied daily.  A broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB should be applied regularly and liberally throughout the day.

Water injuries

Whilst swimming can cool us down in summer, unfortunately it can also be a hazard.  Infections, diving injuries and even drowning can occur.  It goes without saying that adults need to monitor children closely in swimming pools and the sea, but other distractions can make this difficult.

Preventative measures include:-

  • Swimming in designated areas supervised by lifeguards
  • Swim with a friend or family member
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children
  • Children or inexperienced swimmers may benefit from swimming aids, but these should not be solely relied upon.

Insect bites

Being outdoors increases our risk of insect bites. These can also be serious as they can transmit serious illnesses for example, ticks and mosquitoes.

Using insect repellent when outdoors can help. Wearing long sleeved tops and trousers may also help. If you have been in a tick-infested area, it may be sensible to shower within two hours and wash clothes in hot water and dry on a high heat too.

We hope these tips will help you all enjoy a happy and healthy summer in Swansea.

 

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