However you plan to spend your summer, take a look at our handy hints and tips for all occasions.

Stay safe in the sun

You can reduce the amount of UV radiation damage from the sun by following these precautions:

  • keep covered up during the summer months - especially when the sun is at its hottest (11am - 3pm)
  • cover up with a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat with a brim or flap that protects the ears and neck
  • wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damage
  • get into the shade when the sun is at its hottest (11am - 3pm)
  • use sunscreen of at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 on any part of the body you can’t cover up and apply it as directed on the label
  • re-apply sunscreen regularly, and always after being in water

Malignant melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in Scotland. The incidence rate of malignant melanoma has increased by 30% over the last ten years, a greater rate of increase than for any other cancer. It's also the second most common cancer among young people in the UK. Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun, or sunbeds, is the main cause of skin cancer.

If the heat outside keeps you indoors, try to keep your environment as cool as possible:

  • if inside, stay in the coolest room in the house
  • don't leave anyone in a parked car
  • keep windows exposed to sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature drops

Keep cool when it's hot outside

In Scotland, we're tempted to make the most of the outdoors when the sun comes out. However, it's important to do it safely, being aware of the effects of the sun's heat and rays. Follow these steps to stay safe:

  • drink plenty of cool fluids – don’t wait to get thirsty
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine – these can leave you dehydrated
  • eat cold foods with high water content such as salads and fruit
  • take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • sprinkle water over skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
  • avoid extreme physical exertion

In the garden

The summer months are an opportunity for the green fingered amongst us to get out and enjoy our gardens. Recent cases of the Legionella longbeachae bacteria amongst gardeners in Scotland has reinforced the importance of good hygiene practice.

This unusual form of Legionella bacteria can be present in potting compost. Gardeners can become infected by inhaling or ingesting the compost dust. Whilst the risk of becoming unwell is low, we recommend following Health Protection Scotland's few simple tips to help you during gardening:

  • wear gloves
  • wear a dust mask if you are working on anything dusty
  • wash your hands as soon as you finish
  • if you are going to smoke, wash your hands before doing so

Travel safely

Get expert advice on how to stay safe on Scotland’s roads by visiting the Dont Risk It website which highlights important road safety messages such as drink driving and the law, vulnerable road users and motorbikes.

The Fit For Travel website provides information for people travelling abroad and has general advice on a range of health and travel related topics including:

If you're planning to spend summer at home read our advice on preventing childhood accidents.

Avoid bugs and germs

Getting out and about in the fresh air is great for our mind and body. By following some simple rules you can make the most of Scotland's countryside whilst avoiding bugs and germs. 

  • Be tick aware
  • Drink clean water
  • Wash your hands
  • Clean up

Outdoor health

Read our article on outdoor health, for advice on water quality, hand hygiene and removing ticks.
Avoiding bugs and germs outdoors