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Our favourite time of the year is here, but there are a few watchouts (BBQ tummy anyone?). Here’s how to help defeat the sunny season’s hazards so you’re #winning
Nothing beats the feel-good factor of sunshine, whether you’re at a wedding, party or even Wimbledon. But if there’s a heat wave, or you do anything too strenuous in hot weather, you’re at risk of developing heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Signs of heat exhaustion can include tiredness, dizziness, nausea, cramps, sweating, thirst, a fast pulse, a headache and dark urine. This is caused by the body losing too much water and salt through sweat. Heatstroke – when the body can no longer cool itself – can put a strain on your organs, and more serious cases may lead to loss of consciousness, confusion and fits. To help you keep your cool, guzzle water, eat water-rich foods, such as cucumber (96%), tomatoes (94%) and watermelon (92%), seek out shade from 11am to 3pm and take it easy when it’s hot. If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion, get them to lie in a cool place, strip off unnecessary layers, use a wet flannel/sheet or ice packs to cool skin, and make sure they drink water. They should start to recover within 30 minutes. If they don’t, get medical attention.
Time to get your toes out! But summer can be a hot favourite for athlete’s foot – red, itchy, flaky skin between toes and sometimes on soles, due to fungi growing on the skin. Fallen victim? Consider Daktarin Aktiv Spray Powder, £4.39/439 points (100g). For the treatment of athlete’s foot; contains miconazole nitrate; always read the label.
1 Boots Pharmaceuticals Hayfever & Allergy Relief 10mg Tablets, £4.29/429 points (14-pack). To treat the symptoms of hayfever; single active ingredient; contains cetirizine; always read the label.
2 HayMax Pure Organic Drug-Free Allergen Barrier Balm, £6.99/699 points (5ml). Spread around nostrils and eye sockets (but not too close to the eyes) to trap pollen.
3 Beconase Hayfever Relief For Adults Nasal Spray, £5.29/529 points, can bring relief from sneezing and a blocked or runny nose. Contains beclometasone dipropionate; always read the label.
’Tis the season for alfresco living, so…
Scrub up Mosquitoes find the smell of sweat and lactic acid irresistible , so after a day of frisbee in the park, exfoliate – including your feet – with a loofah, to reach odours deep in your pores, and unscented soap.
Rethink your wardrobe They’re also attracted to heat, so avoid dark clothes, which absorb it. Try to stick to items that are floaty and close weave – mosquitoes can bite through tight clothes, but not a billowy kaftan!
Blow them away The American Mosquito Association says they’re ‘weak fliers’, so have a fan at your BBQ to blow away mozzies and the smell of your exhaled carbon dioxide – which they may also be attracted to.
Wear a spritz Still getting bitten? Spray exposed skin (and the hemlines of your clothes) with Boots Pharmaceuticals Repel Maximum Pump Spray*, £8.49/849 points (120ml). And remember, if you’re going abroad, there may be a risk of malaria, so you’ll need to ramp up your mozzie protection – the Boots malaria service can help (see ‘Leaving your health to chance’, below, for details).
Our top anti-rash tips
1. Use a hydrating shaving gel.
2. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
3. If your skin is irritated, use an antiseptic wash morning and night, such as Dead Sea The Miraculous Source Natural Sulphur Soap, £3.75/375 points (90g).
This occurs when there’s a conflict between what your eyes see and what your inner ears (which aid balance) sense. To help, try:
• Opening a window, closing your eyes, or looking at the horizon.
• Distracting yourself with music. It works!
• Avoiding spicy food that can upset your tum.
• Packing these: Boots Pharmaceuticals Travel Calm Tablets, £2.79/279 points (12-pack); contains hyoscine for the prevention and relief of travel sickness; always read the label.
Stay calm. And fragrance free! If a bee (or hornet or wasp) appears, don’t swat it – move slowly away, so it doesn’t get stirred up. And as smell is important for these insects (it helps them recognise food and their hive), it’s wise to avoid wearing strong scents – your perfume could turn out to be a bee magnet.
Sting 101: If you do get stung, the NHS advises carefully scraping the sting out sideways with something hard-edged, such as a bank card. Soothe and treat skin with Boots Pharmaceuticals Bite & Sting Relief Antihistamine Cream, £3.39/339 points (20g); contains mepyramine maleate; always read the label.
Summer = thrush season. No wonder, when the fungus likes nothing more than a warm, dark environment (hello wet bikini bottoms after a day at the beach or pool!). ‘As yeast grows, an itch may cause more bother,’ says Boots pharmacist Meera Joshi. ‘So after swimming, ensure you change out of your wet gear – and sleep in cotton underwear. If you do get any symptoms, speak to your Boots pharmacist to see if an over-the-counter thrush treatment might be suitable for you.’
Get relief Canesten Thrush Duo Oral Capsule & External Cream, £13.99/1,399 points (150ml; 10g), has an oral capsule containing fluconazole and cream containing clotrimazole; always read the label.
A must for swim kits: Swimseal Ear Drops (7.5ml; see in store or online for details). They coat the ear canal to help stop water getting trapped and giving you gyp (or an ear infection).
Let’s face it, after months of feeling like you should be on Noah’s Ark, hot weather is a blessing… until bedtime. To keep cool, leave your blinds or curtains shut during the day, put your (cotton) pjs in a bag in the fridge an hour before bed, and take a cool shower. Plus, spritz hair with This Works Sleep Plus Hair Elixir (80ml; see in store or online for details), which has essential oils to help you relax and give you healthier looking locks.
Say what? We’re talking about those puffy ankles/feet you can get when travelling. ‘Sitting on a plane (or a long car/train journey) slows the blood flow in your legs, so fluid can pool in your lower limbs,’ says GP Dr Gio Miletto. Help stop the puff! ‘Dehydration can slow circulation even more, so it’s important to drink water,’ Dr Miletto advises.
Pack: Boots Pharmaceuticals Travel Fresh Flight Socks, £14.99/1,499 points (sizes 3.5-12), to help increase blood flow.
Planning on some serious sightseeing? Well, flip-flops aren’t made for walking! Podiatrist Simon Costain from The Gait and Posture Centre on Harley Street suggests following these footwear guidelines: ‘Never wear too flat a shoe – the heel should be between ¾in and 1½in high, as well as wide and stable,’ he says. ‘And make sure that whatever holds your foot in place – be it a strap, bar or lace – is secure.’
You’ve been counting the sleeps till your holiday, but make sure you do your research before you go, to avoid spending your vacay on the toilet – many countries (even in Europe) have tap water that may not agree with you. In such places, stick to bottled water (even for brushing your teeth), and avoid ice in drinks. For more advice on water and food hygiene while travelling, check out travelhealthpro.org.uk. You might also want to pack a Water To Go Bottle Boots.com only £24.99/2,499 points (75cl), which filters 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, wherever you are. Handy!
1 Check poultry, pork, and minced and skewered meats (such as burgers, sausages and kebabs) are cooked all the way through, not just on the outside.
2 Make sure you use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked food.
3 Don’t let food sit outside too long: heat allows germs to breed. Pop cooled food in the fridge to avoid tummy troubles the next day.
Preparing to jet off? Plan ahead by visiting boots.com/travelhealth, where you can use the quick check tool to see which vaccinations and antimalarials you might need, and how much they cost. If you do require jabs, you can book a vaccination appointment at a Boots store of your choice**. You should do this 6-8 weeks before your trip, but if you can’t, the service may still be able to help. Remember, in a few countries it’s a legal requirement to have vaccinations, and you may be refused entry if you haven’t – major holiday fail…
Psst: Don’t be one of the 31% of young people who don’t get travel insurance! Bootstravelinsurance.com offers policies for those with medical conditions, too.
Always wear appropriate SPF when in the sun. Spend time in the shade or cover up to minimise sun exposure. Overexposure to the sun is a serious health threat. *Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use. **Selected stores only; subject to eligibility and availability; charges apply.