Keep well this Summer

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Health tips to keep well and safe this summer in Suffolk and north east Essex

Please follow the guidance below to help you get the right care quickly if you feel ill or need urgent or emergency treatment.

Remember to use sun cream and stay hydrated with plenty of soft drinks in hot weather

Apply sun cream regularly throughout the day

Keep any prescription medication you might need with you

Order your repeat prescriptions in good time

Please allow 5-7 working days for your local GP surgery and community pharmacy to safely process and dispense your prescription.

Advice for vulnerable people

Most advice on staying well during hot weather is common sense, but some people run a greater risk of harm. These include older people, babies and young children and people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart or breathing problems and diabetes. Please look out for each other.

Advice for visitors and holidaymakers

If you need to speak to or visit a GP while on holiday, call 111. Please note you may not be seen by a GP but by another medic who is also qualified to treat you. You can also call 111 to see a GP out of normal surgery hours.

Remember to bring your prescription medication with you.

If you’ve forgotten to bring your prescription medication on holiday with you, go online to request an emergency supply:

Emergency prescriptions – NHS 111 

Or call: 111 

Emergency services

999 and A&E are for serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies only. Please help other people and don’t call 999 or visit emergency departments unless it really is necessary. This means that people who need emergency care can get it as quickly as possible.

Urgent (non-emergency) medical problems

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. You can contact NHS 111 via the website or by phone/textphone:

Website: https://111.nhs.uk/ (for people requiring treatment aged 5 and over only)

Telephone: 111 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

If you’re deaf and want to use the phone service, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language service:

Website: https://signvideo.co.uk/nhs111/

Textphone: 18001 111

Minor ailments

Local pharmacies can help with a number of minor ailments such as:

Coughs, colds, sore throats, eye irritation, hay fever, tummy troubles, aches and pains, constipation, diarrhoea, insect bites and stings, sunburn, blisters and minor cuts and grazes.

How our local pharmacy teams can help with bites and stings

How our local pharmacy teams can help with dehydration

How our local pharmacy teams can help with hay fever

How our local pharmacy teams can help with minor burns and scalds

You can find your nearest pharmacy on the NHS Find a Pharmacy service:

Website: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy

Stay safe and well on the beach

Beach Patrol stations and Lifesaving Clubs in north east Essex

Beach Patrol stations in Clacton, Dovercourt, Frinton, Walton, Harwich and Brightlingsea can give first aid.  They can also provide wristbands for children, help to find a missing child and can give you water safety advice.

Mersea Beach Lifeguards run patrols and offer first aid at West Mersea Beach in Victoria Esplanade when there is a high tide between 11am and 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from the start of May to the end of October. Look out for the red and yellow flag. The ‘Mersea Beach Lifeguard Unit’ Facebook page has details of patrol times and dates.

Coastal Patrols in Suffolk

Crews from Felixstowe Coast Patrol monitor the town’s coastline during weekends and bank holidays between April and November.

The RNLI have summer patrols in Lowestoft and Southwold.

The Coastguard

The Coastguard can be called via 999 if someone is in difficulty in the sea.

Telephone: 999

Advice for vulnerable people

Most advice on staying well during hot weather is common sense, but some people run a greater risk of harm. These include older people, babies and young children and people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart or breathing problems and diabetes. Please look out for each other.

Older people

Dehydration in older people can cause dizziness and light headedness and is a major cause of falls and fractures. Older people often experience a reduced sensation of thirst, meaning they don’t realise they need a drink. This particularly affects those with Alzheimer’s disease or those who have suffered a stroke.

Some medicines such as diuretics and laxatives may increase the likelihood of dehydration and those who are incontinent might limit their fluid intake.

Preventing dehydration can be lifesaving.

Family members and carers should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration which include sluggishness, confusion, dizziness and dark urine.

Don’t rely on an older person telling you they are thirsty. You should ensure they are having a drink at specific times of day whether they are thirsty or not. The recommendation is six to eight cups of fluid each day, which includes tea, coffee, fruit juice and water.

Babies and young children

Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight and older infants should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible. Attach a sunshade to your baby’s pushchair, make sure they wear a sunhat and apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to your baby’s skin.

Make sure older children also have a high-factor sun cream regularly applied during the day. Don’t forget to apply it to the tops of their ears and the back of their neck. Make sure they wear a T-shirt and sun hat and spend some time in the shade.

Ensure children have plenty of drinks. They might be too busy playing and running around to bother to stop for a drink. Don’t offer them lots of sugary, fizzy drinks; give them water, watered-down fruit juice and the occasional ice lolly to keep them well hydrated.

Don’t leave babies and young children in the car in hot weather. Even 20 minutes in a hot car can lead to heat stroke.

People with chronic conditions

Heart conditions

If you have a heart condition it is important to keep out of the sun, stay hydrated, eat cold foods and avoid too much exertion. When the weather is hot you sweat to cool down, meaning you lose more fluid than usual from your body. This can lead to a drop in blood pressure so your heart beats faster.

Asthma

If you use an asthma inhaler don’t leave it in direct sunlight or somewhere it could get hot, such as a car glove box. This could prevent it from working properly.

Diabetes

If you live with diabetes, remember that very hot weather can affect your sugar levels. Sitting in the sun for long periods may raise your sugar levels higher than usual if you are being less active than normal. However, if you take insulin to treat your diabetes, it may be absorbed more quickly from the injection site. This increases the risk of your sugar levels falling.

Drink plenty of water and sugar-free soft drinks. Becoming dehydrated increases the risk of dangerously high blood sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

If you monitor your blood glucose levels, you might need to test more frequently. Remember to keep blood glucose meters, test strips and insulin out of the sun and don’t leave them in a hot car.

If you wear a glucose sensor you may have problems with it staying on. There are lots of ‘additional extras’ you can buy to help with this including patches, skin glue, arm bands and alcohol wipes, as well as tips you can find online.

Diabetes UK has many options on their website or search the internet for ‘CGM patches’.

If you are careful about managing your diabetes, there is no reason you can’t have fun in the sun.

Other conditions

Some medications can increase the sensitivity of your skin to sunburn, especially ones which suppress the immune system. Your pharmacist will be able to tell you if the medication you take may do this. 

Other medications may need to be stored at a stable temperature and shouldn’t get too hot. This information should be available on the packaging but if in doubt, ask your pharmacist.

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