How a glorious day can make you ill

  • The reasons why a few precautions can make a summers day even better
  • Do you know the signs of these potential killers?
  • How to protect the young and old

Can things get any worse…?

Last week I discovered I had Uncontrollable Anger at the Nanny State Disorder and was suffering from Ongoing Irreversible Ageing…

This week I discover I’m turning into a snake.

All right, I’m exaggerating but my holiday tan is fading and my skin is finally starting to peel.

I feel like that scientist from The Fly. Except his kids didn’t go ‘Urrgggggh… DAD!’ every time they saw him.

Still, I guess I just have to accept it. There’s really not much you can do to protect yourself against peeling skin (any suggestions?).

But it does lead me on neatly to a more serious problem… and it could be heading your way this summer.

The killer with a hat on… hip hip hip hooray

There were no sirens…

No alarms started ringing…

But last summer thousands of us were in extreme danger.

In fact, the threat was so bad, the government issued a warning.

Why? Because, as distant as it seems now, the sun was out in full force, pushing temperatures into the 90s… and some sources predict this year will be just as bad, if not worse.

Now we all know about the dangers of too much sun in relation to skin cancer.

But covering up, applying sun cream (even in good old Blighty) and being sensible should give you ample protection against that.

But there are other, less fashionable threats that you need to be aware of.

Let’s take a look at them:

  • Heatstroke this can hit you when your body becomes unable to control its temperature. In effect, your temperature gallops up, causing your sweating ‘machinery’ to get overworked and your body unable to cool down.

And it’s no laughing matter. Although heat stroke sounds like something Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army would suffer from, it can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.

Symptoms of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) red, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse, a pounding headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion.

If heat stroke hits you or someone you know, you need to find a cool place, preferably somewhere with air-conditioning. If that’s impossible, head for the shade. Sit down, loosen clothing and douse your head and body with COLD water.

  • Heat exhaustion this is something that can develop into heat stroke if not spotted and dealt with.

Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, shallow breathing, cool and clammy skin, muscle tremors and heavy perspiration.

Again, you need to get to a cool environment as soon as possible and you should sip cool, nonalcoholic, decaffeinated drinks.

And stay quiet! Impossible for me according to Lara, but I’m sure rest of you can manage it.

And there is more…

Here are some other general tips on how to stay safe in the face of a heat wave:

  • DON’T get fresh air! Well, don’t overdo it anyway. If you’re going out, try to do so in the coolest times of the day before noon and in the evening. While you’re out, rest frequently in the shade even if you feel fine. This will help keep your body temperature in check.
  • Drink plenty of fluids probably more than you want to. You need to replace lost salts and minerals leeched away through sweat so try to drink a minimum of six to eight glasses of cool fluids daily.

Mums and Dads make sure your kids get drinking too.

·         Eat right! Keep your energy levels up by cutting down on fat and sugar and concentrating on carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

·         Dress for safety – wear as little clothing as possible indoors, and wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing outdoors.

·         When outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, wear a hat and use a good quality sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 20, especially on vulnerable spots like the nose. You may look like an Aussie cricketer, but it’s worth it.


And finally, a chilling warning:

·         Never leave children or the elderly in a parked car. I mean NEVER – not even for just a few minutes. The air temperature inside a car rises like a shot during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.

A lot is said about the need to protect dogs in the heat, but it is frightening to see how many people think it’s ok to leave granny alone whilst they pop to the shops… it really isn’t!

Please don’t let these invisible threats put you off enjoying summer. A warm day out in this green and pleasant land is one of life’s truly great pleasures.

But, as with most things, just taking a few simple precautions will ensure the whole family stay safe.

Yours, as always