Summer health risks to avoid

This summer, most of us will want to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re staying in the UK or you’re heading abroad, it’s important that you protect yourself against some of the illnesses that the summer can bring.

Here’s your guide to the main summer health risks you could face:


Sunburn is caused by too much exposure to the sun. It doesn’t even have to be a sunny day, as you can get sunburnt at high altitudes if it’s cloudy.

The best way to avoid getting sunburn is to avoid too much exposure to the sun, by covering up with clothing or sun cream.

While most sunburn is not serious, severe cases can lead to blisters and other complications. The key things to look out for are:
• reddened skin
• blisters
• pain in the area of the burn.

If you get sunburnt, cover your skin with lightweight clothing and get in the shade. Cool your skin by sponging it gently with cool water or by soaking in a cold bath for up to ten minutes. You can also apply calamine lotion or after-sun to soothe your skin.


In warm weather it’s important to remember that heat can be very dangerous to your health.

The best way to avoid heat stroke is to stay out of the sun. You should also drink a lot of water as extreme heat can deplete your body’s reserves of water.

When it gets very hot, your body will attempt to cool down through sweating. If this doesn’t work, your body will begin to overheat – and this is when heatstroke occurs. Look out for headaches and dizziness, dry skin, confusion, a strong pulse and a high body temperature.

Insect bites

When the sun comes out, so do the insects. Bites can result in pain, red blotches and, in the worst cases, allergic reactions.

There are ways to avoid bites and stings. Warm and windless weather at dawn and dusk are the favourite conditions for insects, so avoid going outside at these times. Do wear insect repellent and cover up, but don’t wear brightly coloured clothes as these attract bugs.

Another effective way to avoid bites is to burn citronella outside. Most insects hate the smell, and this can keep you free of bugs.

Asthma and hay fever

Asthma affects about 5.4 million people in the UK. Hay fever is a common condition that is linked to asthma, and according to Asthma UK, between 20% and 60% of people with hay fever have asthma too.

Additionally, considering about 80% those who have asthma also have a pollen allergy, summer can be a difficult time.

You can prepare for summer by finding out which pollens are your triggers. Keeping a record of when you have hay fever, and where you were at the time, can help you work out how to minimise your risk. So, whether you’re out in your garden this summer or on holiday abroad, taking just a few precautions can help you to minimise your summer health risks. You can find out more information and advice on all these conditions at the NHS website.