Holiday health tips for parents and carers

Health bosses have issued some top tips for parents and carers across North Cumbria and the North East to keep the family safe and healthy during the school holidays.

Summer is a time for flip flops, paddling pools and beaches, and fun in the sun, but the season can be blighted with minor health niggles.

The NHS has compiled a list of common conditions and top tips to stay well this summer.

Top tips to stay well this summer

Minor cuts, grazes and burns

Minor cuts need to be washed with clean water and stop the bleeding before applying a plaster or dressing. If you think the wound is infected or at risk of becoming infected, see your GP, particularly if it is a wound to the palm of the hand as infection can spread more quickly from here.

Burns should be put under cool or lukewarm water (never ice water) and remove any clothing or jewellery close to the burn. Do not remove anything that is stuck to it. Wrap it in clean cling film or a plastic bag to protect it.

If a burn is bigger than your hand, is deep, causes charred or white skin, causes blisters or is chemical or electrical, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Insect bites and stings

Apply antiseptic or something cool to the area. If the bite or sting is particularly painful, you can give a dose of (age-appropriate) paracetamol or ibuprofen.

If there’s signs of infection such as pus, swollen glands or flu like symptoms, or if you have signs of an allergy, such as redness or swelling that is spreading, you should seek assistance from your GP.

If they have difficulty breathing or swallowing, rapid or severe swelling to the face, mouth or throat; dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting you should call 999 or proceed straight to A&E.

Bangs to the head

Sit the injured person down, keep them calm and apply a cold compress to the affected area (frozen peas in a tea towel can work well).

Keep an eye out for unconsciousness, repeated vomiting, fits or seizures, problems with senses such as double vision or hearing loss, blood or clear liquid coming from the ears or nose, and memory loss, as any of these may mean a more serious injury. If any of these occur, proceed straight to A&E.

Hay fever

Your local pharmacy can help with antihistamine, nasal spray, eye drops – they’ll have everything you need to relieve the symptoms.

Exercise and outdoors for mental and physical wellbeing

Very overweight children tend to grow up to be very overweight adults, which can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Being active outdoors is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows that it can also improve your mental wellbeing.

Let your kids help decide what to do. Children are more likely to participate in something if they’re involved in picking it.

NHS England’s Medical Director for Cumbria and the North East, Professor Chris Gray, said: “It can be worrying for young ones and their parents when children become ill or have a minor accident. In the summer months, there are more chances for children to get involved in minor scrapes or sporting injuries.

“However many illnesses and injuries – if not serious – can be sorted with over the counter medication, a bit of first aid knowledge or a trip to the local pharmacist for minor illnesses such as cuts and gashes; sprains and strains; sickness and diarrhoea, bites and stings; hay fever and short-term raised temperature.

“Health advice is available at any time on the NHS Choices website or from your local pharmacist. Your local pharmacist is trained in managing minor illnesses and using a pharmacy as the first point of call for advice helps to free up GP time for urgent appointments.

“In all cases, if you think your child is more seriously injured or ill, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Further advice can be sought from your GP surgery or by calling NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.”

To find your nearest service and get further advice, visit: