Sun advice for children
Whether you’re heading to the beach, playing in the park or out in your garden, it’s crucial to think about sun protection for little ones. These five steps will help to prevent sunstroke and dehydration so you can enjoy your family day out:
1. Stay in the shade when possible.
2. Use a good sun cream with at least SPF 15 and 4 stars UVA protection.
3. Keep topping up the sun cream.
4. Always pack a sun hat and light layers of clothing.
5. Drink lots of water.
Now the weather has taken a turn for the better, and many of us are enjoying more time outdoors, ‘Slip! Slop! Slap!’ is a fun, family-friendly reminder of how to stay safe in the sun.
Stress in children
Coronavirus has changed lots of things about family life. Parents and carers might be worried about how to manage stress and changes to children’s daily routines. Anxiety can become a problem when a young person feels stuck, overwhelmed, distressed or as if they can’t manage. Young Minds has excellent information on how to help your child deal with stress or anxieties. Stress or anxiety can also be caused when their responsibilities are beyond their age or development, when they experience family stress or trauma, and when school becomes a struggle or is overwhelming. Giving emotional support and working on practical strategies together can help to manage anxiety and stress. Braive’s ‘stress bucket’ analogy is excellent for visualising how stresses occur and how to move forward with them.
All children and young people feel worried sometimes; this is a normal part of growing up. If this distress goes on for a long time, though, it can leave young people feeling exhausted, isolated and can limit the things they feel able to do. The links below should help you to support the young people in your life.
If you’re concerned about your child feeling stressed or anxious, they may benefit from talking to someone. Contacting your GP or utilising the free NSPCC helpline for support and advice on 0808 800 5000 can give them a safe space to talk about their feelings and provide them with the right support.
Hot weather advice – Elderly
Closing curtains and blinds and staying out of the sun during the heat of the day can help older adults to stay safe and cool in the summer heat. Keeping water and a cool, wet cloth handy when out and about in the hot sun can also help to prevent sunstroke in older adults.
Dehydration diminishes the ability to regulate temperature, meaning that the risk of developing a heat illness rises dramatically. To ensure older adults stay safe in hot weather, always offer water and shade. Warning signs of dehydration can include a feeling of weakness, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps and a loss of consciousness.
There are a few reasons why older adults are more susceptible to fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Muscle mass and kidney function often decline with age, decreasing the ability to conserve water. It can make it more challenging to adapt to things like fluctuating temperatures.
Only around 1 in 12,500 people have a ruptured brain aneurysm in England each year. Aneurysms can develop in places where the walls of a blood vessel are typically weaker, such as where they branch. A brain aneurysm is more common in people over 40 but can affect anyone at any time. An unburst aneurysm can have symptoms such as:
- Loss of vision or double vision
- Pain around your eye
- Numbness or weakness on one side of your face
- Difficulty speaking or concentrating
- Headaches, loss of balance or problems with short-term memory
You should see a GP as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms.
You can’t always prevent brain aneurysms, but you can lower your risk by quitting smoking and reducing high blood pressure. A ruptured aneurysm is an extremely serious condition that requires emergency medical attention.
https://www.thewaltoncentre.nhs.uk/uploadedfiles/leaflets/Brain Aneurysms and Screening 2021A.pdf
Did you know that walking briskly, even for one minute, counts as exercise? A brisk daily walk is a great excuse to get outside and improve your health. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week. Active 10 is a walking tracker app that shows how much brisk walking you’re doing and how you can do more. A daily walk can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood, as well as help with many health issues. A daily walk is great for your long-term health; it can reduce your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, anxiety, depression, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
When travelling abroad, it’s not uncommon for overseas medical bills to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Standard insurance policies may not be the right policy for you, depending on your circumstances and trip plans. You might need to purchase additional cover for:
- Older travellers
- Those with pre-existing medical conditions
- Adventure travellers/backpackers
If you’re planning on going abroad, check your travel insurance policy for COVID-19 exclusions; ensure your cover includes:
- Coronavirus medical and repatriation cover
- Coronavirus cancellation cover
- Scheduled airline failure
The NHS website’s ‘fit for travel’ guide has more tips to prepare you for your holiday abroad.
You can still use a UK-issued EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) after Brexit. If you already have an EHIC and are going away to an EU country for a brief time, you can use it until it expires. Once it’s expired, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) will replace the existing EHIC. You can use your European Health Insurance Card or UK Global Health Insurance Card to access medically necessary, state-provided healthcare when you’re visiting an EU country. This includes things like:
- Emergency treatment and visits to A&E
- Treatment for prior health conditions
- Routine medical care
- Routine maternity care
- Oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis
EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and, therefore, may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs. Make sure you have travel insurance as well as your card.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets or bone pain caused by osteomalacia. People should be able to make all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight. However, factors such as the recent lockdown and wearing sun cream may have prevented you from absorbing enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is in foods such as:
● Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
● Red meat
● Egg yolks
● Fortified foods
It’s not always sufficient to get Vitamin D from food alone though. According to national surveys in the UK, across the population, approximately 1 in 5 people have low Vitamin D levels. Taking a Vitamin D supplement can help, especially as you may have been indoors more than usual this year. A daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D is recommended to ensure you stay healthy. The government website explains in more detail how to ensure you get the right amount of Vitamin D in your diet:
Sunscreen helps to reduce the intensity of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays entering the skin and damaging vulnerable skin cells. To stay safe in the sun, we recommend these three tips:
- Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses
- Spend time in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm when it’s sunny
- Use a ‘high protection’ sunscreen of at least SPF 15 with high UVA protection
When buying sun cream, we commonly look for the SPF factor, but what does this actually mean? The SPF or Sun Protection Factor can be described as how much longer skin takes to burn covered with sunscreen compared with unprotected skin. For example, if you burn after ten minutes in the sun, then using SPF15 is taken to mean that you can safely remain in the sun for 10 x 15 = 150 minutes (2½ hours) before burning.
Usually, the protection you may actually receive is expected to be about one-third to one-half of the labelled SPF; that’s why healthcare professionals recommend wearing at least SPF15. Maintaining balanced protection against both UVB and UVA sun rays reduces the likelihood of damaging your skin – either by sunburn or by developing skin cancer later in life. On the back of sun-cream bottles, the UVA Star Rating ranges from 1 to 5 stars, 1 being low UVA protection and 5 being high. Using a ‘high protection’ sunscreen of at least SPF 30 which also has high UVA protection is recommended.
BBQs are a great way to spend time with friends and family over the summer; however, it’s essential to prepare to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. These simple precautions will help to keep you and your family safe this summer:
- Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from flammable objects, plants and buildings.
- Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
- Never leave the barbecue unattended.
- Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it.
Explaining to children the dangers of playing with or near lighted fires will help to prevent irreversible harm. If a fire does break out, don’t attempt to fight the fire yourself unless it’s very small – fires can travel very quickly. Call the fire and rescue service immediately on 999 or 112.
If you use a disposable barbecue this summer, please remember:
- It must be placed on an even surface.
- Place it well away from the house, shed or fences.
- Do not use disposable barbecues near or on public benches.
- Ensure it has cooled down before putting it in the bin.
To avoid starting a fire, you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it’s out.
There have been several incidents of severe burns caused by using disposable BBQs on sand. Avoid using BBQs directly on a sandy surface; the heat can be held for many hours. https://youtu.be/0DCD2Sf81gs
What is mindfulness? For most people, the word mindfulness can seem like a rather vague concept that’s difficult to put into words. In the simplest terms, mindfulness is a state of active and open attention in the present moment. Mindfulness can help you to deal with stress, your emotions and to cope during hard times.
Mindfulness meditation involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander. It can help you to feel more positive and calmer throughout the day. Check your mood using this simple mood self-assessment quiz and see if mindfulness could benefit you:
Mindfulness can help you to:
- Understand your emotions better
- Cope better with difficult thoughts
- Feel calmer
- Boost your attention and concentration
- Improve your relationships
English organ donation law has changed. All adults in England are now considered potential organ donors, unless they choose to opt out or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt-out’ system. Every day, thousands of people’s lives are saved or improved thanks to the generosity of donors. Sadly, though, there’s still an urgent need for donations. If you’ve opted out, you can reconsider and register to donate on the NHS website. Anyone, at any age, can become an organ donor. If you’re younger than 18 years old, you need to have the consent of a parent or guardian. Each year, hundreds of opportunities for transplants are missed because families aren’t sure what to do. It’s really important that those closest to you, such as family and friends, understand and support your choice.
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects your airways. In the UK, around 5.4 million people are currently receiving asthma treatment. That’s one in every 12 adults and one in every 11 children.
Common triggers include: house dust, chest infections, pollen, animal fur, tobacco smoke, cold air and exercise. If you have asthma, your airways are more ‘sensitive’ and become inflamed when they come into contact with something they don’t like. Working in partnership with your GP means you’ll get the best support and treatment for your asthma. Continuing conversations about symptoms, triggers and side effects can help to prevent the condition from worsening over time.
An asthma review at least once a year is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care to ensure you stay well. This could prevent worsening asthma symptoms and avoid a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. A review is a great time to talk about any triggers or symptoms, update your written asthma action plan and check your inhaler technique. The NHS website provides more information on living with asthma.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease that makes breathing difficult. About 1.2 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD, and many more have it without knowing. It mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke and it tends to worsen over time.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is made up of two lung conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The main symptoms of COPD are:
- Increased breathlessness
- A persistent chesty cough with phlegm – similar to that of a “smoker’s cough”
- Frequent chest infections
- Persistent wheezing
If you’re living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), creating a self-management plan with your GP can help you to understand your condition, but ensure they know of any changes in your plan or symptoms. The British Lung Foundation provides more information on making a self-management plan.
The Meningitis B vaccine offers protection against meningococcal group B bacteria, a common cause of meningitis in young children in the UK. Babies aged eight weeks are to have the vaccine, followed by a second dose at 16 weeks and a booster at one year.
The MenACWY vaccine is routinely offered to teenagers in Years 9 and 10 at school. It protects against infections like meningitis and septicaemia. Students should make sure they contact their GP before starting university or college to have the MenACWY vaccine, if they haven’t already had it. If that’s not possible, they should have it as soon as possible, when beginning university.
NHS Wales: http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/doityourself/vaccinations/ACWY/
NHS Scotland: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/meningitis-acwy-menacwy-vaccine
NHS Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/menacwy-vaccination-programme-teenagers-and-students
NHS England: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/men-acwy-vaccine/
World Breastfeeding Week, 1st – 7th August
World Breastfeeding Week aims to highlight the benefits that breastfeeding can bring to the health and welfare of both mum and baby. By breastfeeding infants, we can decrease the risk of infection, sickness and Type 2 diabetes. This is because breast milk contains all the energy, nutrients and fluid your baby needs for healthy growth and development – especially in early life.
Breastfeeding has health benefits for mothers, such as reducing the risk of both breast and ovarian cancers, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
If you have concerns about breastfeeding, your midwife or GP can help you to make an informed decision. In the UK, only 1% of women maintain exclusive breastfeeding for six months as recommended by WHO/UNICEF and the UK Health Departments. If you’re concerned about breastfeeding, your midwife or GP can help you. If you’d like some extra support or someone to talk to, the National Breastfeeding Helpline is open 9.30 am – 9.30 pm every day. You can find the details below.
UNICEF has developed The Baby Friendly Initiative to help build a society that protects and nurtures breastfeeding, to improve the life chances, health and wellbeing of children in the UK. You can read more about the initiative below:
Playday, 4th August
Playday is the national day for play in the UK. The theme for this year’s Playday is ‘summer of play’. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. The Playday UK ‘summer of play’ theme recognises the challenges children and young people have faced over the past year and their need to enjoy time for play free of restrictions, with their friends, having fun.
Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills. Play is vital for children’s enjoyment and for their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. https://www.playday.org.uk
Cycle to Work Day, 5th August
Take part in the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event! Cycle to Work Day is for absolutely everyone. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t cycled in years or you’ve never cycled at all.
Public Health England reports that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing many cancers, improves metabolic health, reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and it can help maintain a healthy weight and support weight loss. Cycle to Work Day is a great way to introduce healthy habits into your lifestyle.
Regular physical activity provides neurological benefits including a reduced risk of dementia and mental health outcomes such as reduced depressive symptoms. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has been shown to improve quality of sleep and also quality of life. Introducing cycling into your lifestyle is a great way to gain these benefits.
Cycle to Work Day is the perfect opportunity to start!
National Allotments Week, 9th – 15th August
‘Thrive’ uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities, ill health or those who are isolated, disadvantaged and vulnerable. Getting involved with a gardening community can be a great way to meet new people and improve your mental wellbeing.
Working in your garden is an excellent way to get all-around exercise for improving strength, endurance and flexibility. It can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions. Get involved with the National Allotments Week and show off your gardening tips and tricks.
Published: Aug 11, 2021