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Going somewhere sunny for your summer holiday? Read up on the NHS's advice for staying safe in the heat & sun

It’s fair to say that aside from a couple of warmer weeks a little while ago, summer 2024 isn’t looking too promising here in the UK. For many parts of mainland Europe, however, this is a completely different story, with record-breaking temperatures already seen in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Very sadly, the extreme heat has also caused a number of fatalities, too, with at least five reported in Greece alone in recent weeks.1

These destinations are among the most popular for British tourists every year, with the almost guaranteed hot weather being part of their appeal. Thousands of us will be unperturbed by the extremity of this year’s temperatures and book a Greek getaway or some Turkish travels anyway, so if this is you, be mindful of your health in the heat. To help you, we’d like to share with you a few of the NHS’s top tips to help you stay safe in the sun this summer, so read on!

Do you have a pre-existing medical condition?

If so, you might be at higher risk in the heat, especially if you have a heart or breathing problem, diabetes or take medication that might affect temperature control. If you take any sort of medication, or have any pre-existing medical condition, you should talk to your doctor before traveling to a hot country.

Sun, sea and SPF

Seeking a bit of sun is probably among the foremost reasons we choose to head abroad each summer. It’s wonderful for improving mood, and vitamin D is something we can be at risk of lacking under our grey British skies. However, striking the balance between what’s healthy and what’s risky can be tough. To stay safe, the NHS recommend that you:

  • Avoid the sun between 11AM and 3PM, when it’s at its most intense and temperatures are hottest. Stay in the shade if you do need to go outside, and keep yourself cool. Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Apply sunscreen appropriately, ensuring you’re using enough and applying it to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears and head if you have thinning or no hair. You should use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, but 50+ if you have pale or very sensitive skin. It should be re-applied every two hours, but more frequently if you go swimming or have been sweating heavily.
  • Wear clothing and accessories that provide sun protection, such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and loose-fitting clothes that don’t allow any sunlight through. Long sleeves and linen trousers or a long skirt might be great choices as they’ll protect you while helping you remain cool!
  • Don’t exert yourself in the heat, as this could increase the risk of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. If you want to go for a walk or do some light exercise, do so early in the morning to avoid the heat, and stay in the shade, as even outside of the hottest parts of the day the sun can be intense. During these periods, chill out in the shade with a good book!

The NHS webpages on safety in the heat and sun can be accessed here. You’ll find lots more information on risk factors and staying safe during hot, sunny weather. Look after yourself this summer, and have a great break!


Death toll rises as heatwaves hit Cyprus, Greece and Türkiye: Will this be Europe’s hottest summer? | Euronews

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