Be aware of the symptoms of common health problems experienced in summer so you can get medical help if you feel unwell.
Dehydration and overheating
Extreme heat and dry conditions can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat.
It’s important to eat a balanced diet to help your body replace any salt you lose by sweating. Aim to drink 6 – 8 glasses of liquid a day, and more if it’s hot. Limit drinks with caffeine and avoid alcohol as it can make dehydration worse.
You may also need to be careful if you’re taking some types of medication that affect water retention. Speak to your GP if you’re concerned.
Watch out for certain signs – particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids.
Sunburn is caused by UV (ultraviolet) from the sun. The skin can become red, sore, tender or flaky. Too much UV can damage your skin cells and over time this can lead to skin cancer.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, intense thirst, heavy sweating and a fast pulse.
If you have any of these symptoms you must, if at all possible:
- find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
- drink plenty of water or fruit juice
- sponge yourself with cool (not cold) water.
Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated – it can also :
- call 999 immediately.
- if you have a personal alarm, press the button on your pendant to call for help
- while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.
If you have a long-term condition such as diabetes, a heart or breathing problem, then the heat can cause stress on your body and worsen your condition. Talk to your doctor about how best to manage your long-term condition in hot weather.