Summer spoilers: tips to help soothe six common summer nasties

Long, lazy summer days can also bring some summer spoilers to avoid or be prepared for.  But don’t sweat, we’ve got a few tips to help soothe sunburn, bites and stings.

We can all get a bit excited about summer. But, before you dash out the door with a beach towel or light up the BBQ and invite your friends over there are a couple of summer spoilers to be prepared for. 

1.  Sunburn

Prevention is always better than cure, so remember to slip, slop, slap, slide and seek shade.  However, if you do get sizzled: 
  • Apply aqueous cream, after-sun lotion or aloe vera lotion.
  • Have a cool shower or bath or apply a cool compress. 
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Stay out of the sun until your skin has healed.
If your sunburn is severe, seek medical advice especially if you have a headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness or fever.

2.  Heat exhaustion or heatstroke

When mercury levels soar or you’ve been doing very strenuous physical exercise you may experience heat exhaustion, or in more serious cases heatstroke. 

Symptoms of heatstroke to look out for include:
  • Headache.
  • Nausea and no appetite.
  • Dizziness and confusion.
  • Cramps.
  • Pale, clammy skin and sweating.
  • Fast, weak pulse and shallow breathing.

If you notice the symptoms of heat exhaustion:
  • Lie down with legs raised in a cool place.
  • Apply cold packs or wet towels to the skin.
  • Re-hydrate by drinking plenty of water.
If your symptoms are more severe, this could be heatstroke.  Call triple zero (000) immediately. 

3.  Mozzie bites

Mozzies can be the bane of long nights outdoors! Try to avoid being bitten by:
  • Covering up.
  • Applying insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin (check the product information before using on very young children). 
  • Avoiding being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active at night . 
 But what can you do if they find you delicious? Don’t scratch! It only makes itching worse and can cause infection. Instead use an ice pack to sooth your itch. If the itching or swelling gets worse, speak wot a chemist who can recommend some over-the-counter help such as calamine lotion, antihistamines and creams.

4.  Wasp stings

  • Clean affected area with soap and warm water.
  • Use an icepack to reduce swelling.
If the swelling or pain doesn’t get better, speak to a chemist who can recommend some pain relieving medicines or creams, and antihistamines. 

If you’re allergic, call triple zero (000) and use your adrenaline injection device (EpiPen or Anapen).

bee in a flower

5.  Bee stings

They look cute and fluffy but who could image their stingers pack such a punch! If you’re unlucky enough to be stung by a bee:
  • Try to remove the sting by scrapping your finger across it.
  • Wash the area with soap and warm water.
  • Use an icepack to reduce swelling.
If the swelling or pain doesn’t get better, speak to a chemist who can recommend some antihistamines. 

If you’re allergic, call triple zero (000) and use your adrenaline injection device (EpiPen or Anapen).

6.  Jellyfish stings

Jellyfish love hanging in the ocean just as much as we do. If you or a friend get stung act fast and get help, as some jellyfish stings can be deadly!

Non-tropical jellyfish (e.g. bluebottles)
  • Get out of the water to avoid being stung again.
  • Call for a lifesaver, or triple zero (000).
  • Do not use vinegar if you know it's a bluebottle sting.
  • Gently wash the area with sea water to remove any remaining tentacles.
  • Place the area in hot water (or run hot shower water) for at least 20 minutes.  Alternatively, use a cold pack. 
Tropical jellyfish
  • Get out of the water to avoid being stung again.
  • Call a lifesaver or triple zero (000).
  • Wash off any stingers with salt water.
  • Pour salt water or vinegar (if available) over the affected area until help arrives.
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