Look after your health this summer

Look after your health this summer

Bright, hot summer days are here and many are enjoying the holidays especially after a long period of restrictions and lockdowns. There are picnics & parties, beaches & barbeques and much more… While we enjoy the summer, it is, however, important to be mindful that temperatures can get dangerously high, particularly for:

  • older people, babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition (e.g. heart or breathing problems)
  • people with mobility problems
  • people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medications, especially those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active (e.g. labourers or those doing sports)

Some useful tips for a healthy summer:

Keep yourself safe and cool

  • Keep out of the sun especially between 11.00am and 3.00pm – if you have to go out in the heat, wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat or light scarf.
  • Walk in the shade when possible and apply sunscreen (minimum SPF 30).
  • Use sunglasses with adequate UV protection.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion.
  • Make sure to cool yourself down with plenty of cold drinks (avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks).
  • Eat cooling foods (e.g. salads and fruit with a high water content).
  • Take a cool shower when you need it.
  • Use a body water mist or spray over the skin or clothing when out in the sun.

Keep your environment cool

Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants and young children, the elderly; and those with chronic health conditions or who cannot look after themselves.

  • Keep windows that let in the sun closed during the day or close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. Note that metal blinds and dark curtains can absorb heat; consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
  • Open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment that generate heat.
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house – evaporation helps cool the air. Trees and leafy plants near windows act as natural air-conditioners.
  • Use an electric fan to provide some relief.

Look out for others

  • Keep an eye on friends/family who are elderly or ill; and on very young people to make sure they are able to keep cool.
  • Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
  • Make sure to call a doctor if someone is unwell or further help is needed.

If you or others feel unwell

  • If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious; or have intense thirst and headache – move to a cool place and get help as soon as possible.
  • Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.
  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, often after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes.
  • Seek medical help if heat cramps last more than one hour.
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.

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