It’s just as important in the summer to remember to stay healthy in the summer, making sure that the hot weather doesn't harm you or your loved ones. Follow the THREE Ps and prepare, plan and protect yourself and your family in the warmer weather.

Prepare

  • Know where to go should you need medical advice
  • Brush-up on your knowledge of heat related conditions so you can spot the signs early
  • Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast and heatwave warnings

Plan

  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time
  • Stock up on supplies such as sunscreen and essential first aid items
  • Make sure you drink plenty to avoid becoming dehydrated

Protect

  • Check if you need a travel vaccination before travelling outside the UK. You should get advice at least eight weeks before you're due to travel
  • Look out for friends, family and neighbours and those with existing health conditions
  • Most people enjoy a dip to cool down but make sure to stay alert and safe around the water at all times
  • Follow food safety guidance for your summer BBQs

Do you know where to go should you need medical advice?

A&E can be extra busy during the summer months so if you need medical help but it isn’t an emergency there are many other routes you should use. NHS organisations nationwide are urging people to understand what health service to use if you feel unwell over the summer. This helps to ensure that the thousands of people needing help get the care they need as quickly as possible.

NHS 111

Remember that 999 should only be called in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency. If you need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation, consider calling NHS 111. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are FREE from landlines & mobile phones.

You can also NHS 111 online: https://111.nhs.uk/

Pharmacy

Pharmacists are experts in medicines and their use, and can offer trusted advice on a range of issues whether it’s a cough, hay fever or managing a long-term condition.

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor health concerns. They can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest. If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need. Click here to find a pharmacy near you.

GP Appointment

If your illness is not life threatening and you have been feeling unwell for a while it is likely that you may need to contact your doctor. There are 10 GP surgeries in Surrey Heath offering appointments until 8pm Monday to Friday. Click here to find out more about your practice.

A&E / 999

Going to A&E, or calling 999, should only be used when someone is experiencing a genuine life-threatening emergency such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Stroke
  • Major trauma such as a road traffic accident

Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units. A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP is closed you can go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111, which will direct you to the best local service.

Alternatively, you can visit an NHS urgent treatment or walk-in centre, which will also treat minor illnesses without an appointment.

Babies and Children

Babies and young children can become ill during very hot weather. Their health can be seriously affected by dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Click here to visit the NHS website for information and advice on keeping your child happy and healthy in the heat.

Sun Safety

Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn doesn't just happen on holiday – you can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy.

Sun safety tips:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
  • Make sure you never burn
  • Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
  • Take extra care with children
  • Use at least factor 15 sunscreen. It important not just to check the SPF factor but also the star rating which measures the amount of ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) protection. You should see a star rating of up to five stars on UK sunscreens. The higher the star rating, the better.

Calling all men that spend a lot of time outdoors - Cover Up Mate!

NHS England is urging men who spend a lot of time outdoors to ‘Cover Up, Mate’ and slap on the sun cream when exposed to UV rays. Skin cancer in men is increasing at a faster rate than it is for women. Men who spend a high proportion of their day outdoors such as farmers, builders, gardeners and sportsmen, need to take a safer approach to the sun in summer in order to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible if any moles or freckles change size or shape.

Staying Hydrated

Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it isn't treated it can get worse and become a serious problem. When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body, which affects the way it functions. Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:

  • diabetes
  • been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
  • drunk too much alcohol
  • sweated too much after exercising
  • a high temperature of 38C or more
  • been vomiting or diarrhoea
  • been taking medicines that make you urinate more

Read more here about the symptoms of dehydration and when to seek medical advice.

Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst. It has no calories and contains no sugars that can damage teeth. Make water an exciting alternative by adding a pop of colour. Add fruits like frozen berries, kiwi and apple to make the water taste and look interesting. There are lots of other ways you can stay hydrated including making your own homemade ice lollies and this delicious refresher recipe from Change4Life.

Keeping Cool

Overheating can be dangerous for anyone but can especially make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing.

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hot. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors
  • Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves

When it gets too hot for too long there can be many health risks. Being prepared for a heatwave can make all the difference. Read more here for information on heatwave alerts mean for you and what to do in a heatwave.