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Summer health

Summer health

Although the Isle of Man has not experienced long periods of hot weather which have resulted in a Heat Wave. We do occasionally enjoy a warmer couple days or weeks each year. 

We have provided some practical advice below to help keep you safe and healthy this Summer.

Staying Healthy this Summer 

Barbecues (BBQs) - General 

Accidents and food poisoning notifications increase during the Summer here are some simple safety tips to consider before you start cooking: 

  • Is you barbecue in good working order?
  • Is you barbecue position on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs?
  • Remember to keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
  • Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it. 

Refer to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Barbecue safety tips for more detailed information. 

Barbecues (BBQs) - Cooking 

Food poisoning cases can double over the summer and during sunny weather, so remember these simple steps to help keep food safe. 

When cooking any kind of meat, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure: 

  • the coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they're hot enough
  • frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it
  • you turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly 

Remember that meat is safe to eat only when: 

  • it is piping hot in the centre 
  • there is no pink meat visible
  • any juices are clear 

‘The safest option is to cook food indoors using your oven," says a spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). " You can then put the cooked food outside on the barbecue for flavour." This can be an easier option if you're cooking for a lot of people at the same time. 

For more information refer to the NHS Choices page on Barbecue food safety.

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D 

Our body creates most of our vitamin D from modest exposure to direct UVB sunlight. Although it’s essential to protect your skin, some direct exposure to the sun is important for the production of vitamin D for healthy bones, so don’t avoid the sun altogether. Best sources for vitamin D are foods like meat, salmon, dark oily fish, eggs and mushrooms. 

NHS Choices Sun Safety Advice

Protect your Skins and Eyes in the Sun

Sun safety for Children

Festival Sun Safety Days

Are sunbeds Safe?

Shunburn: Stay safe in the sun

Dehydration and overheating 

Safe in the Sun

During high temperatures and dry conditions use common sense to prevent dehydration which could cause your body to overheat. 

  • Increase your fluid intake - regardless of your activity level.
  • During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour. 

It is also important to make sure you eat a balanced diet to help your body replace any salt you lose by sweating. You may also need to take particular care if you’re taking some types of medication that affect water retention. Talk to your GP or practice nurse for advice if you have any concerns. 

Thing to consider when temperatures start to rise: 

  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Wear sun hats and sunscreen
  • Pace yourself
  • Stay cool indoors or in the shade
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully
  • Monitor friends and family who fall into the following high risk groups
    •  Infants and children up to age 4
    • Adults 65 and above
    • People who are overweight
    • People who overexert themselves during exercise
    • People who are already ill or on certain medications
       

Dehydration 
Heatstroke and Symptoms

An average temperature of 30°C by day and 15°C overnight would trigger a health alert (this figure varies slightly around the UK). These temperatures can have a significant effect on people's health if they last for at least two days and the night in between.

Heatwaves  

Remember the vulnerable of our society. The very young and the very old who might have more problems regulating their body temperature to keep them cool and keeping hydrated. 

Hayfever 

Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects up to one in five people at some point in their life.  However, it's very difficult to avoid pollen, particularly during the summer months when you want to spend more time outdoors. 

Reducing your exposure to the substances that trigger your hay fever should ease your symptoms. 

  • Try to stay indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50). 
  • Avoid cutting grass, playing or walking in grassy areas and camping – particularly in the early morning, evening and at night when pollen counts are highest.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes.
  • Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body.
  • Keep car windows closed. You can buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car. This will need to be changed every time the car is serviced.

For treatment and advice refer to the NHS Choices Hayfever page.

Allergy UK also provide plenty of help and useful information. 

Insects and Bugs 

Ticks, ants, midges, bees and wasps are popular as the warmer weather arrives.  Some precautions you can take to avoid being stung or bitten by insects. 

  • Bees, Wasps or Hornets – move away slowly without panicking.  Do not wave your arms
  • Cover exposed skin with long sleeves or trousers during sunrise and sunset when they are particularly active
  • Wear shoes outdoors
  • Use insect repellent on exposed areas of skin
  • Avoid strong perfumes (soaps, shampoos, deodorants as they attract insects)
  • Sit away from flowering plants, outdoor food areas, rubbish and compost areas
  • If you discover a nest contact Pest Control to assist with removal
  • If camping avoid water, pond and swamp areas as insects are more commonly found near water areas
  • Keep food and drink covered  when outside
  • Close doors and windows or use netting or beads to stop insects getting inside 

Follow the NHS choices page on Insect Bits and Stings for more detailed information.

Click this link for more details on  Ticks and Lyme Disease 

Tombstoning – 'Don’t jump into the unknown' 

Tombstoning is an activity which has occurred around the coast for generations, unfortunately over recent years it has gained attention for the wrong reasons, with a number of people killed or seriously injured. 

  • Check for hazards in the water. Rocks or other objects may be submerged and difficult to see 
  • Check the depth of the water. Remember tides can rise and fall very quickly 
  • As a rule of thumb, a jump of ten metres requires a depth of at least five metres 
  • Never jump whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs 
  • Check for access. It may be impossible to get out of the water 
  • Consider the risks to yourself and others. Conditions can change rapidly – young people could be watching and may attempt to mimic the activity. And, if you jump when you feel unsafe or pressured, you probably won’t enjoy the experience. 

Coasteering allows you to experience this activity in safer conditions why not try as session out of the islands fully trained groups. 

Coasteering in the Isle of Man 

For a selection of physical activities aimed at your age group visit www.godoactive.im

Summer health godoactive logo

 

 

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