Monday 9th December 2019
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Summer health tips

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What to do if you're sunburnt?

While sunburn is usually short-lived, it's important to avoid because it can increase the chances of developing skin cancer in later life. Below are some tips on how to treat mild sunburn:
  • get out of direct sunlight as soon as possible
  • cool skin by sponging with cool water or have a cool bath or shower – applying a cold compress to the affected area may also help
  • drink plenty of fluids to bring temperature down and prevent dehydration
  • apply a water-based cream, emollient or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) to keep skin cool and moist
  • if necessary, take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • try to avoid all sunlight, including through windows, by covering up the affected areas of skin until your skin has fully healed
You should contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:
  • the sunburn is over a large area
  • there is blistering or swelling of the skin
  • you have chills or a high temperature of 38C or above, or 37.5C or above in children under five
  • there are symptoms of dizziness, headaches and feeling sick (possible heat exhaustion)

 

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How to cool someone down

Follow these four steps:

  1. move them to a cool place
  2. get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly
  3. get them to drink plenty of water - sports or rehydration drinks are OK
  4. cool their skin using a spray, or sponge them with cool water and fan them - cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too
Stay with them until they are better.
 
They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.
 
Call 999 if the person:
  • is no better after 30 minutes
  • feels hot and dry
  • is not sweating even though they are too hot
  • has a temperature that's risen to 40C or above
  • has rapid or shortness of breath
  • is confused
  • has a fit (seizure)
  • loses consciousness
  • is unresponsive
These can be signs of heat stroke.
 
While you wait for help, keep giving first aid and put them in the recovery position if they lose consciousness.
 
 

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Where can I get help?

 

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