Local people urged to stay safe in the sun

With warm weather forecast over the next week or two, health experts at NHS Forth Valley are reminding local people to stay safe in the sun.

NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Public Health and Strategic Planning, Dr Graham Foster said: “Being prepared can prevent you feeling unwell and help to keep you safe when the temperatures rise. Simple things like wearing cool clothing, drinking water regularly to stay hydrated and staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm can really help.

“If you are out and about when it’s hot and sunny then remember to generously apply a high factor sun cream at least half an hour before you go outside and take some supplies with you to reapply throughout the day. The latest research shows that cases of skin cancer are on the rise, especially in the 25 – 49 year old age group and getting sun burnt just once every two years triples the risk of developing a melanoma. However, the majority of cases could be prevented if people take a few minutes to protect their skin with a high factor sun cream.”

Local people are also being encouraged to make use of local pharmacy and minor injuries services for common summer health problems such as hay fever, insect bites and stings.

Dr Graham Foster said: “Hospitals are extremely busy places where staff deal with life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and stroke.  The Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital is therefore not the place to visit if you are suffering from hay fever, or have been stung by an insect unless the sting causes a severe reaction such as anaphylaxis.

“Local pharmacists can provide expert advice and treatment for common summer health problems such as hay fever, dehydration, insect bites and stings. The Minor Injuries Unit at Stirling Health and Care Village, which is open every day from 9.00am to 9.00pm, can treat adults and children over the age of one for cuts and grazes, insect bites, minor burns, sprains and strains. Staff can also arrange X-rays for suspected broken bones and deal with small objects stuck in an ear or a nose.”

To treat an insect bite or sting:

  • Remove the sting or tick if it’s still in the skin.
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
  • Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoid scratching the area, to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.
  • The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days. Ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments that can help, such as painkillers, creams for itching and antihistamines.