How to be prepared for outdoor mishaps

As the weather becomes warmer and drier, many people start spending more time outdoors. But whether you’re planning a full-day country hike or an hour of relaxation in your back garden, being outdoors – especially during the warmer weather – comes with a number of health hazards.

For instance, the spring and summer months are when you’re more likely to come into contact with stinging or biting insects (as well as stinging plants). You may experience the ill effects of too much sun exposure in hotter weather if you don’t take the necessary precautions. And if you’re walking or taking part in other outdoor activities there’s always the possibility you could suffer a cut, sprain, strain or other injury.

So if you want to make the most of the warmer weather, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any health hazards that may come your way. If you’re planning any days out during the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car – here are some of the items you may need:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Distilled water (for cleaning cuts)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Assortment of bandages and sterile dressings (including eye dressings)
  • Assortment of plasters (including blister plasters)
  • Microporous tape
  • Calamine/after-sun lotion
  • Insect bite and sting relief cream
  • Skin rash cream
  • Antihistamine tablets/liquid
  • Pain relief tablets
  • Antiseptic cream/lotion
  • Tick remover
  • Eye wash and eye bath

Treating injuries when you’re out and about

Strains/sprains Try to immobilise or support the joint or muscle by wrapping it in a compression bandage (make sure the bandage isn’t too tight). If the injury is painful, take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol. As soon as you get home, use PRICE therapy: protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (see our article on sports injuries for more information).

Insect bites and stings Apply insect bite and sting relief cream to soothe itching. If you get stung by a bee, don’t squeeze the stinger – instead, scrape or flick it out using your fingernail or the edge of a credit card.

Cuts and grazes Clean the wound with distilled water or antiseptic wipes and keep it clean by covering with a plaster or sterile dressing.

Sunburn Cool the affected area as much as possible with distilled water. Apply calamine lotion or after-sun lotion to the affected area and keep covered. When you get home, apply cool wet compresses followed by more calamine lotion or after-sun lotion.

Heat exhaustion Getting too hot can lead to symptoms such as feeling faint, headache, weakness, feeling sick, heavy sweating and feeling very thirsty. Treat it by getting out of the sun and into a cool place as quickly as possible, and drinking lots of cool fluids. When you get home, take a cool shower or bath, or wrap yourself in a cold wet sheet. If you don’t feel better, call NHS 111 for advice or contact your GP.

Your local Careway pharmacist has all the items to keep your outdoor first aid kit well stocked. They can also offer more information on staying injury-free when you’re out and about. Find your nearest pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.