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Melanoma skin cancer deaths have been increasing dramatically in the UK, with the rate rising two and a half times since the 1970s


Cumulative excess all-cause mortality related to heatwaves in summer 2020 was the highest observed since the introduction of the Heatwave Plan for England


Want to get away this summer? Us too. You’ve got to prepare as best as you can. That means getting organised in terms of a vacation, getting organised in terms of a staycation. Luckily for you, your local pharmacy has everything you need when it comes to looking after your summer health. From travel vaccinations for paradise island hopping (we can but dream), to must-have essentials to keep you fit and well if you’ve got to stay at home, here’s our guide to what you need to invest in and why.


The heat is on

Looking forward to hotter days and nights, with dreams of BBQs while catching up with friends and family? Us too. However you choose to spend your summer, make sure you visit your local pharmacy for must-have products and are sensible with the rising temperatures.

SPF (sun protection factor) is the first port of call for all members of your family, as no one wants to burn in the sun, so have a chat with a member of the pharmacy team to see which sun lotion is the right one for you. You should also remember that the sun can cause you to overheat, so it might be worth investing in products to keep you and your family cooler when the temperature gets a bit too much. Depending on the size of your pharmacy you may find they stock electric fans, gel pillows, mattress cooling pads and more, so ring up and see if you can speak to someone for advice on the best ways to stay cool if a heatwave hits in the UK.

Dehydration is another cause for concern during the summer months, with the young, elderly and those with underlying health conditions usually at more of a risk. Drinking plenty of water is of course key, but you should again ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to stay hydrated. From guiding you to a healthy diet, to the right clothing and staying shaded during the hottest part of the day, they have a wealth of knowledge to keep you and your family safe.


Escape to the sun?

First, look at the location you’re hoping to visit, compiling a checklist of all the products you’ll need to stay fit and healthy while on your travels. A basic first aid kit is a given, stocking up on plasters, antiseptic cream, bite and sting relief and remedies for upset stomachs, headaches, heartburn and whatever else you tend to suffer from when venturing overseas. Will you need tablets for even getting to your chosen location in the first place? Your local pharmacy can help with travel sickness tablets for the entire family.

Speaking of pharmacy advice, they’re the first port of call for help when it comes to any vaccinations you may well need to visit a more tropical location.

It’s also essential to make sure you’re adequately protected in terms of medication and travel insurance if you’re hoping to escape this summer. Take the correct amount of your prescribed medication so you’re covered while you’re away.


Allergy advice

Summer may bring with it a dose of much-needed sunshine, but it also signals a return of hay fever, not to mention triggers in other more common allergies. Itchy eyes and a constantly streaming and sneezing nose are far from fun, so visit your local pharmacy as soon as possible to try and limit the effects of this allergic reaction. Antihistamines in the form of tablets and eye drops provide some relief, while stocking up on saline nasal sprays and tissues is also advised.

Asthma and eczema sufferers also find their conditions may tend to worsen over the summer months, so it’s advisable to speak to your pharmacy sooner rather than later for an action plan to get you through the hottest months. Make sure your inhalers are full and plentiful and that with eczema you are stocked up on all your prescribed medication and over-the-counter help, such as bathing emollients and topical ointments and creams.


Aches & pains

You can still become under the weather, whatever the time of year, so make sure you’re stocked up and prepared for any illness the hotter months may decide to throw at you. Catching a cold; suffering from a migraine; experiencing an upset stomach – all of these are unpleasant but can be safely managed at home with products and advice from your local community pharmacy. Your kids will no doubt pick up a bug or two along the way now they’re back mixing together at school, so invest in a new thermometer and have plenty of Calpol to hand should you find their temperature starts to rise.

Summer is also bound to bring with it a few seasonal-related mishaps, from tumbles in nettles to insect bites and stings – again, it’s your pharmacy you need to turn to and not your GP. Too much wine one night after a catch up with friends? Your pharmacy has all the hangover related pain relief you’ll need!