Health chiefs urge residents to stay safe and well this summer
As the heatwave continues over the next few days, health experts across the county are advising people to stay safe and well during the hot spell.
Shropshire’s Council’s Stay Safe and Well this Summer webpages offers a host of advice for people young and old, to help keep cool and hydrated throughout the hot weather. The website also provides advice and information on home and personal safety, and signposts people to other summer-related advice including:
- Summer health – NHS advice on how to stay well throughout the summer months
- Heatwave advice – advice to ensure the hot weather doesn’t harm you or anyone you know
- Insect bites and stings – tips and advice on what do if you’re stung or bitten by an insect
- Skin care – advice on being ‘sun smart’ and help reduce the risk of skin cancer
- Personal and home safety – advice to help reduce the risk of summer crime
- Leisure safety – information and advice on camping, fireworks and water safety. Other information includes, travel advice, information for practitioners who support vulnerable people, as well as ‘what’s on’ during the summer months.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, and chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-Being Board, said:
“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks.
“Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can both be very serious if they are not treated quickly, especially for the very young or very old, or for those with long-term illnesses. We strongly advise residents to heed the summer health advice and to look after each other in this hot weather.”
With pollen counts also high, Dr Irfan Ghani, Shropshire Council’s consultant for public health, offers advice for hayfever sufferers:
“Although there is no cure for hayfever, there are many over-the-counter remedies available from your local pharmacy to help make life and the condition easier to manage during the summer months. Pharmacists are fully trained health professionals who can offer useful advice on treatments for hayfever, such as antihistamines.
“Antihistamines are commonly used for hayfever. They block the action of the chemical histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it is under attack from an allergen like pollen. Decongestants can also help to relieve a blocked nose which is often caused by hayfever, as well as dust allergies and pet allergies.
“For those already taking regular medication, pharmacists can advise on the most appropriate treatments that won’t interfere with it. If you’ve tried over-the-counter medicines but are still struggling with troublesome symptoms it may be worth speaking to your GP, as you may need prescription medication.”
Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be found on NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/summerhealth. You can also visit your local pharmacy or call NHS 111.
To find your nearest pharmacy in Shropshire visit http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Pharmacy/LocationSearch/10
For more information on staying safe and well this summer, visit Shropshire Council’s Stay Safe and Well this Summer at https://shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-summer/
Public Health England’s (PHE) Heatwave Plan update, advising people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.
Here’s some top advice from PHE for being sun safe:
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat and light scarf. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn.
- drink lots of cool drinks and when travelling ensure you take water with you
- look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies, and those with serious illnesses
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially older people, infants, young children or animals.
- See the PHE’s Heatwave Plan for England for more information.
Hayfever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen and the hayfever season lasts for several months, with tree pollen released in the spring, grass pollen in late spring and summer, and tree pollen in the autumn.
Hayfever is the most common seasonal allergy, affecting one in five of us at some point in our lives, and the symptoms can make life very difficult for sufferers. It can come and go at any time in life so for those that haven’t had it before it can take us by surprise.
Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes as pollen causes the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed. As well as seeking advice from your local pharmacist to ease its symptoms, sufferers can take some basic precautions to help prevent hayfever, including applying a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) below the nostrils to trap pollen grains, and wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in the eyes.
It’s also a good idea to take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors, and try to stay indoors when the pollen count is particularly high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air).