Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Get set for summer!

? The days are longer, the temperature is warmer and the grass is greener… it can only mean one thing… get set, summer is on the way!

Most of us welcome the arrival of summer, with the chance to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather. But don’t forget to stay safe this season.

Sunscreen and sun safety

After a long winter, it can be tempting to get outside and make the most of the sunshine when it does finally appear, but it’s important to strike a balance between getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest, which here in England is between 11am and 3pm from March to October. And if you are out in the sun, cover up with suitable clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and regularly apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB and at least 4-star UVA protection. Make sure you never burn, as this can increase your risk of skin cancer.  Remember, sunburn doesn’t just happen on holiday, you can burn in the UK, even when it’s cloudy. 

We sweat more in hot weather, so it’s really important to drink plenty of water to replace what our bodies have lost. Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in, and if it’s not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem, so make sure you know how to spot the signs and reduce the risk.

Be tick aware this summer 

With many of us making the most of the warm weather and spending longer outside, it’s important to be aware of ticks as they increase at this time of year. Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals and people. They can vary in size, from as small as a tiny freckle to a similar size to a baked bean! 

They live in many different outdoor environments, but they are particularly common in grassy and wooded areas where they wait on vegetation for an animal or person to pass by, and then climb on, bite and attach to the skin and feed on blood for several days before dropping off.  

You can try and prevent being bitten by ticks by keeping to clearly defined paths, using insect repellent (make sure that it says it repels ticks) and wearing light colour clothing, so ticks are easier to spot on you. After spending time outside, check yourself, your clothing, your pets and others for ticks. Remove any attached tick as soon as you find it using a tick-removal tool or fine-tipped tweezers. 

And if you do get bitten, look out for early signs of Lyme Disease, which include mild-flu like symptoms (such as a fever, headache and fatigue) and a bulls-eye rash. If you feel unwell after being bitten by a tick, even when you don’t have a rash, contact your GP or NHS 111 and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors. 

There’s lots of useful information in this leaflet from the Government’s UK Health Security Agency.

Heatwaves, heatstroke and heat exhaustion

A heatwave is when the daily maximum temperature meets or exceeds the threshold for the area. In Devon, the heatwave temperature threshold is 25ºC.

When it’s too hot, there are risks to our health, particularly the elderly or people with underlying conditions, and during heatwaves, more people than usual get seriously ill or die.

So if very hot weather hits this summer, make sure it does not harm you or anyone you know. If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature, headache, loss of appetite, dizziness or shortness of breath during hot weather, you should consider the possibility of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion:

  • move them to a cool place
  • get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly
  • get them to drink plenty of water
  • cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them

Heat exhaustion doesn’t usually need emergency medical help if you can cool the person down within 30 minutes. However, if they’re still unwell after half an hour, and have a very high temperature, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath and are confused or lack coordination, call 999.

Water safety

Whether swimming, paddling or playing in and around Devon’s rivers and lakes or venturing out to the coast, make sure you do it safely.

Although it might be hot outside, please remember that water temperatures remain dangerously cold. As inviting as it looks, don’t just jump straight in, as cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably, and you could breathe in water and drown.

Wearing a wetsuit will help increase your buoyancy and reduce the chances of suffering cold water shock, and remember to take plenty of warm clothes for before and after your dip, along with a hot drink to help you warm up again when you come out of the water.

Keep a close eye on friends and family around water, especially children, and don’t let anyone swim alone. If you’re visiting the beach, choose one with a lifeguard and only swim between the red and yellow flags. Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks and if in doubt, stay out. There is always another day to go for a swim!

If you get into trouble in the water, the RNLI urge you to remember ‘Float to Live’ – resist the urge to thrash about, instead lean back, extend your arms and legs and gently move them around to stay afloat, once you can control your breathing, call for help or swim to safety. If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Enjoying Devon

With the summer ahead, you may be looking for ideas of things to do in Devon. Blessed with our two National Parks; five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast; 12 estuaries; 400 km of coastline; and 210 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, we’re spoilt for choice!

Our Explore Devon website has some wonderful ideas for walking and cycling routes, and suggestions for where to see the best of our local wildlife and places to visit.

We recommend our two country parks, the Grand Western Canal, near Tiverton and Stover Country Park, near Newton Abbot, both beautiful spots to relax and enjoy the countryside. 

Our colleagues at Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park have very good websites with ideas for exploring the outdoors.

And don’t forget to see what our local Devon libraries have to offer. Find out what’s happening at your nearest library on the Libraries Unlimited website.

Why not let others do the driving this summer? Bus passengers in Devon can continue to take advantage of a cap on bus fares, with bus users paying no more than £2 for a single journey! For more information and for great travel ideas for how to get around in Devon, visit our Travel Devon website.