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Five Health Fails To Avoid This Summer

4 MIN READ • 16th May 2022
Georgia May-Collings by Georgia May-Collings

Look after yourself this season as we round-up the most common summer health niggles – and reveal how you can avoid them!

Forget sun, sea, and sand. Instead, sprains, broken bones and sun damage are more likely as they make up some of the most common summer health issues. In fact, over three quarters of Britons have sustained an injury as a result of spending more time outdoors during the summer months. So, as we head outside to enjoy the warmer weather injuries are set to sore and to help Britons enjoy this summer pain-free, Dr Luke Powles, lead GP from Bupa Health Clinics offers his expert advice on how to avoid those common summer health fails.

    • 1. Being too competitive Research found that almost a fifth of summer injuries have been caused while playing garden games with friends and family, and two million adults said being too competitive in a game of summer sport has caused injury in the past. Britons are known for their competitive nature but in a friendly game of sport this could result in an injury.

      TIP: Don’t overdo it
      To avoid limping away with a sprain or worse a broken bone, know your limits when playing games with friends and family – it is ok to take a breather now and again! Always make sure you are wearing the correct gear for the sport you’re playing. Helmets and shin pads etc are necessary with some sporting activities so don’t think you’ll be safe just because you’re in a back garden and not a professional pitch!

    • 2. Pushing too far As Briton’s look forward to the World Cup and Wimbledon this summer, a fifth of us will feel inspired to get outdoors and have a game ourselves. But, this could be dangerous if you’ve not played in a while. Using muscles that you’ve never trained before, or not used in some time, could lead to stiff, painful muscles in the days following the activity.

      TIP: Take it easy

      Go at a pace that suits you and your body. It’s important to remember that our bodies change over time when it comes to exercise. If you are watching these two major sporting events and feel inspired, be cautious about getting straight into strenuous exercise without warming up. Have a quick jog around and stretch your calves, hamstrings, back and arms. This can take no less than three minutes to do a full body stretch – so why not! Equally, if you take advantage of the warmer, light evenings and decide to pick up running over the summer, take ten minutes to introduce strength and conditioning training – this will help in the long term.
      Prior to starting a new fitness regime or sport, see a physiotherapist or have a full body health assessment to ensure your body is at the right level before progressing and possibly causing injury. Getting a snapshot of your health is a great way to stay on track with fitness, especially when taking up a new activity. A physiotherapist will advise a training regime to match the new sport or activity you have begun which will minimise muscles tears or pulls.

    • 3. Unwanted bites Mosquitos look for CO2 as their food source which can be bad news for us after we exercise, drink alcohol or eat spicy food as we release CO2.

      Be unappealing

      To avoid being nature’s feast, make sure you cover up after a workout or if you’re enjoying some food in a pub garden.
      If you are bitten, act straight away and avoid itching by buying a cream from the pharmacy. Anti-biotics are sometimes necessary if the bite gets infected. It’s important to monitor any changes surrounding the bite and visit a pharmacist if you’re unsure. Stings are also a problem in the summer which can lead to serious allergic reactions. If you get significant swelling (especially in and around the mouth, face or throat), difficulty breathing, or feel unwell following a sting then please seek urgent medical attention. If a sting allergy is suspected then your doctor will likely recommend an allergy test to see if you are vulnerable to a serious allergic reaction. For those who are, we recommend carrying an EpiPen with you when you’re outdoors.

    • 4. Suffering with allergies Hay fever or Allergic Rhinitis is caused when the body has an allergic reaction to substances like pollen, house dust mites or mould. 18 million Brits needlessly suffer with hay fever each summer with some experiencing symptoms all year round. Symptoms including sneezing, itchy throat and runny eyes leave many Britons longing to stay indoors, missing out on the good weather.

      TIP: Pollen proof your home
      Don’t let hayfever ruin your summer. One tip is to put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen, it may feel odd but it can help reduce the symptoms. Aside from keeping windows and doors shut as much as possible sufferers should also shower and change their clothes once they get inside. It’s also worth investing in an air purifier to tackle any rogue pieces of pollen floating around.
      Antihistamines can be a huge help to those suffering, and we recommend taking these tablets in the lead up to summer, so your body can build a resistance and they can work to their best ability by the time the good weather comes. A steroid nasal spray or salt water spray nose can be more effective if your nose becomes blocked with your hay fever. Watery, itchy eyes can benefit from cromoglycate eye drops which you can source over the counter. Avoid grassy areas, especially during the early morning and evening as this is when the pollen count is highest.

  • 5. Forgetting the sun cream A trap most Britons fall into is not realising the strength of the UK sun. Our research found that almost three-quarters (73%) of Britons don’t always apply sunscreen in the UK and a third said they are more relaxed about applying it when they are in the garden at home, versus on holiday abroad. Whether you’re abroad or in the UK, everyone should protect themselves from the sun to avoid damage to the skin.

    TIP: Be prepared

    The sun can be the strongest between 12pm to 2pm, so if you are outside, make sure you’re covered up and wearing sun cream. It’s important to know your skin type as this will determine the level of sun exposure your skin a capable of handling before burning. The Fitzpatrick skin test is a great way to know how much sun cream you should be applying and what precautions you should take in the sun. When buying sun cream, you should choose one with factor 30 or above with Ultraviolet B (UVB) protection and no less than four stars for Ultraviolet A (UVA) protection. When travelling, bring water with you to prevent overheating and the risk of sun stroke.

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