Staying safe this Summer

Are you ready for summer? Whilst we can't be guaranteed good weather all summer, we can ensure that we are prepared to enjoy the sun safely.  

Getting ready for summer is easy. We have provided some advice and links to websites for more detailed information on:

  • when it's hot outside
  • staying safe in the sun
  • in the garden
  • exploring the great outdoors
  • travelling safely 

When it's hot outside

Whilst most of us love the warm weather during the summer months, it is important to remember that the heat associated with this can affect anyone. Conditions related to heat including heat stroke and heat exhaustion can have serious consequences if not treated quickly

Simple steps can be taken to stay safe in the heat.

  • Keep in touch with others especially the elderly, children and those with chronic health conditions
  • Keep yourself and others cool - sometimes the outside temperature is so high that your body is unable to cool down by itself.  Some tips to help the cooling process include:
    • Drink plenty of cool fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine that can lead to dehydration
    • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.  Sprinkling cold water over the skin and clothing can help or a damp cloth kept on the back of the neck 
  • Be prepared by getting the local weather forecast online or by downloading the weather app to your mobile phone
  • Avoid air pollution especially if you suffer from a breathing or heart condition. You may benefit by registering for the free Know and Respond Scotland service.  This provides text message alerts when it air quality is low accompanied by targeted health advice

Staying safe in the sun

Uncovered skin can be extremely vulnerable to sunburn during the summer months.  You can prevent sun damage to your skin by:

  • avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • staying in the shade
  • protecting your skin by using sunscreen (at least Factor 15)
  • Remember that children and babies need extra protection from the sun as their skin is delicate and easily damaged.

In the garden

The summer months lead to an increase in the green fingered among us to get out and enjoy the garden.  Due to the recent outbreak of the potentially fatal Legionella Longbeachae bacteria amongst gardeners in Scotland the importance of good hygiene practice has been reinforced.

This unusual form of Legionella bacteria can be present in potting compost. Gardeners became infected by inhaling or ingesting the compost dust. Whilst the risk of becoming unwell is low, practising good garden hygiene can reduce the risk of infection.  

Exploring the great outdoors


If you are planning on taking to the hills during the summer the Mountaineering Council of Scotland suggests that you pay extra attention to looking after ourselves in terms of hygiene as well as skills and safety.  Exposed skin can leave hillwalkers vulnerable to tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease.  

Avoiding bugs and germs outdoors - NHS Inform

Staying safe near water

Remember to take care to stay safe around reservoirs, rivers and lochs. It is recommended to swim in a properly supervised area such as the beach or swimming pool.

Summer is also the time when the potentially hazardous blue-green algae can be found in our waterways.  Accidentally swallowing the water can lead to symptoms such as skin rashes, eye irritation and vomiting.  While symptoms are normally mild they can lead to more severe reactions.  Animals, including dogs, have died after going into affected waterways.  

Blue-green algae levels are routinely monitored during warmer months and public water supplies are treated.  Warning notices are posted on affected waterways.  If you find a waterway that is affected by blue-green algae and is not displaying a warning sign you should contact Environmental Health

Eating outdoors

The summer months can mean the opportunity for picnics and barbeques. Following simple food hygiene advice can protect you and your family from food poisoning.

If you plan on visiting a petting zoo, farm or the countryside during the school holidays, it is a good idea to be extra careful about hygiene. Following good hand hygiene precautions and reducing risks from rural visits should prevent infections from contaminated food or animals.

Travelling Safely

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

Parents and carers are also encouraged to do safety checks before booking holidays paying particular attention to water safety and balconies.