With only a few days to go until summer, most of us are turning our attention to the skies. But just how often do we throw caution to the wind as soon as the sun comes out? Don't let a nasty sunburn ruin your time off - follow our five steps to make the most of your summer.

Summer Sun Protection: Glasses & Hat

1. Avoid Sunburn

We all love getting out to soak up the sun, but did you know you don’t even have to burn your skin to cause damage. According to skincancer.org over 90 percent of the visible changes associated with skin aging are caused by the sun.

Our top tips for preventing sun damage are to stay covered during the peak sun hours (between 11am-3pm), drink lots of water and to find a sunscreen that suits your skin type.

Sun cream is available in a range of ‘Sun Protection Factors’ (SPF). The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends factor 30 as the standard strength - advising that many people who use lower factors do not use them correctly.

The World Health Organisation reports that factor 15 is only effective if applied evenly and in large enough quantities. However, if you have fair skin or burn easily it is highly recommended that you consider SPF 50+ for further protection.

2. Anticipate your hay fever

The latest studies show that allergies are becoming increasingly common in the UK, affecting around 30-35% of people at some point in their lives.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction that occurs when our bodies react to a harmless substance, such as pollen, and produce defensive chemicals. One of these chemicals is known as Histamine.

There are numerous products available to treat the symptoms of hay fever, although the main active ingredients used (Cetirizine, Loratadine and Chlorphenamine) all provide effective relief from the symptoms of allergic reaction, and are available in tablet and liquid from.

When purchasing your hay fever medication it often works out cheaper to buy a month’s supply rather than a week’s supply, you could save up to 50% per tablet.

Popular hay fever medication brands include Haymine and Piriteze, which are mainly used for ages 12+, however Piriton Syrup can be used from age 1+. Non-branded versions are also available, and usually at much lower prices.

We encourage everyone to read the information booklet enclosed with your medication and to consult a healthcare professional about any concerns.

3. Take care of your feet

Your feet carry you through the rushes of everyday life, and you should look after them if you want to avoid the aches and pains associated with bad posture.

Instead of reaching for your tired old flip flops, opt for a pair with ergonomically designed insoles that supports the contours of your feet.

Brands such as Dr Scholl and Flopeds offer specially designed flip flops, which reduce slippage and provide greater comfort. This is especially important if you have flat feet or suffer from back pain.

4. Combat travel sickness

There are a number of ways to prevent travel sickness, and it can sometimes be tricky to find something that works for you.
It is advisable to avoid foods that upset your stomach before you travel. These commonly include spicy or fatty foods, but will vary from person to person. Consider a smaller, blander meal and be sure to stay hydrated.

If you are flying abroad, the position of your seat on the plane can affect how you feel, and passengers sitting down the centre of the plane can often experience less turbulence than those sitting to the sides. While this might not always be in your control, it is worth keeping in mind if you ever have the option to select your seats.

If you are considering travel sickness tablets, active ingredients can help you determine the most suitable one. Promethazine is the active ingredient in many travel sickness medications, used to treat symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. It can also be used as a sedative. An alternative to this is the ingredient Cinnarizine which is used mainly to treat the nausea and vomiting symptoms.

Two popular brands that feature these ingredients are Phenergan (Promethazine) and Stugeron (Cinnarizine). Stugeron is available only as a tablet, while Phenergan can be purchased in liquid or tablet form. The liquid, Phenergan Elixir, can be used for children aged two to five.

Both brands are very popular but we encourage everyone to read the enclosed information booklet and consult your pharmacist or GP if you have further questions before taking the medication.

5. Consult a doctor

If you’re going away this summer (or indeed any time of year), it’s always important to consult a GP to ensure that it’s safe for you to make the journey, and to discuss any health concerns specific to you. You may require anti-malarials if you are travelling to certain parts of the world, and vaccinations are recommended for travel to some countries.

If you have booked a last minute holiday, it may be difficult to get an appointment at short notice. If you are struggling to get an appointment in time, you may want to consider an Online Doctor service, to make sure you are taking the right precautions.

There is often a small fee for these services but they can help you to avoid long waiting times, and can be a more convenient option if you have a busy schedule.

 

We want everyone to be able to enjoy the sunshine, so please re-share and tweet these tips so that your friends and family can have a healthy summer.