Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.
Check if you have hay fever
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- sneezing and coughing
- a runny or blocked nose
- itchy, red or watery eyes
- itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- loss of smell
- pain around your temples and forehead
- feeling tired
If you have asthma, you might also:
- have a tight feeling in your chest
- be short of breath
- wheeze and cough
Hay fever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.
How to treat hay fever yourself
There's currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.
But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.
- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
- stay indoors whenever possible
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter
- do not cut grass or walk on grass
- do not spend too much time outside
- do not keep fresh flowers in the house
- do not smoke or be around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse
- do not dry clothes outside – they can catch pollen
do not let pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors
A pharmacist can help with
Speak to your pharmacist if you have hay fever.
They can give advice and suggest the best treatments, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with:
- itchy and watery eyes and sneezing
- a blocked nose
Be Self Care Aware for Summer
Sunburn is red, hot and sore skin caused by too much sun. It may flake and peel after a few days. You can treat it yourself. It usually gets better within 7 days.
How to ease sunburn yourself
- get out of the sun as soon as possible
- cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold)
- apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera
- drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
- take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
- cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed
- do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin
- do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin
- do not pop any blisters
- do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin
- do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin
You can ask a pharmacist:
- about the best sunburn treatments
- if you need to see a GP
Non-urgent advice: See a GP urgently or call NHS 111 if:
- your skin is blistered or swollen
- your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery
- you feel very tired, dizzy and sick
- you have a headache and muscle cramps
- your baby or young child has sunburn
Severe sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be very serious.
Getting sunburnt can increase your chance of getting skin cancer. Find out how to protect your skin from the sun and avoid sunburn.
Sun safety tips
Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October.
Make sure you:
- spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- make sure you never burn
- cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
- take extra care with children
- use at least factor 30 sunscreen
Children and sun protection
Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.
Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.
From March to October in the UK, children should:
- cover up with suitable clothing
- spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 3pm
wear at least SPF30 sunscreen
Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long, there are health risks. If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather does not harm you or anyone you know.
Why is a heatwave a problem?
The main risks posed by a heatwave are:
- not having enough water (dehydration)
- overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Who's most at risk?
A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious long-term condition, especially heart or breathing problems
- people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke
- people with serious mental health problems
- people on certain medicines, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports
Insect bites and stings will usually cause a red, swollen lump to develop on the skin. This may be painful and in some cases can be very itchy.
The symptoms will normally improve within a few hours or days, although sometimes they can last a little longer.
Some people have a mild allergic reaction and a larger area of skin around the bite or sting becomes swollen, red and painful. This should pass within a week.
Occasionally, a severe allergic reaction can occur, causing symptoms such as breathing difficulties, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth. This requires immediate medical treatment.
What to do if you've been bitten or stung
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 PHARMACIST CAN 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.
When to get medical advice
Contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:
- you're worried about a bite or sting
- your symptoms don't start to improve within a few days or are getting worse
- you've been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes
- a large area (around 10cm or more) around the bite becomes red and swollen
- you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness
When to get emergency medical help
Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:
- wheezing or difficulty breathing
- a swollen face, mouth or throat
- nausea or vomiting
- a fast heart rate
- dizziness or feeling faint
- difficulty swallowing
- loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment in hospital is needed in these cases.
Prevent insect bites and stings
There are some simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten or stung by insects.
For example, you should:
- Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees – don't wave your arms around or swat at them.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
- Wear shoes when outdoors.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.
- Avoid using products with strong perfumes, such as soaps, shampoos and deodorants – these can attract insects.
- Be careful around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water, and in outdoor areas where food is served.
You may need to take extra precautions if you're travelling to part of the world where there's a risk of serious illnesses. For example, you may be advised to take antimalarial tablets to help prevent malaria.
Think about getting outside everyday in the summer months taking advantage of the warmer weather.
Take family walks in wooded areas or on the beach there are so many places of interest in this beautiful area around Northallerton. Check out the internet for ideas, walks, and places to visit.
You should take extra care in the sun if you:
- have pale, white or light brown skin
- have freckles or red or fair hair
- tend to burn rather than tan
- have many moles
- have skin problems relating to a medical condition
- are only exposed to intense sun occasionally (for example, while on holiday)
- are in a hot country where the sun is particularly intense
- have a family history of skin cancer
People who spend a lot of time in the sun, whether it's for work or play, are at increased risk of skin cancer if they do not take the right precautions.
People with naturally brown or black skin are less likely to get skin cancer, as darker skin has some protection against UV rays. But skin cancer can still occur.
You will need to go to a travel advice centre. They will advise you on what is needed for each individual country and may offer any vaccines needed.
We are a Yellow fever vaccine centre but you will need travel advice previously to booking a yellow fever vaccination, contact reception for details.
If NHS vaccines are required the surgery will need at least 6 weeks to organise getting the vaccines into the surgery. Also a number of weeks before you travel is required to allow a vaccines to be working within your immune system. You will need to bring a copy of the travel advice letter that has been given to you by a travel advice centre.