With Britain on the verge of a welcome spring heatwave, many of us will be getting the BBQ out for the first time since last summer or spending the weekend working in the garden.
Whether you’re staying in Britain or heading to your timeshare resort soon for an early summer break abroad, here are some top tips on how to stay safe on holiday in warmer weather.
Grills and Fireworks
Firing up the grill may be the largest safety hazard of the summer season – numerous accidents are reported every year. Use caution when grilling with open flame and careful when using charcoal lighter fluid. If you’re celebrating with fireworks and have pets on holiday with you, keep them inside as the noise can be really traumatic for a lot of dogs.
The Big Garden BBQ!
There’s nothing better than a big family barbecue, but don’t forget these food hygiene factors:
• Keep cold food cold with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at cold temperatures, not luke warm.
• Keep plastic coolers closed – for obvious reasons. This keeps the contents cold longer and keeps any insects out, too.
• Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat/poultry/seafood wrapped to avoid contaminating other picnic foods. Be careful with raw chicken, which can be notorious as a source of food poisoning.
Sun and Heat Exposure
Once the sun is out it’s all too tempting to go overboard worshipping it – especially after a long northern winter! You can soak up the rays more safely by using a really good sunscreen, and something like an SPF30 or over is best in really warm climates near the equator but if you have fair skin, you’ll want to get the SPF50 out. Beware of windy beaches, the cooling effect of the strong breeze usually masks the sun’s burning rays.
• Protect your shoulders by wearing a T-shirt, pop on a hat to protect your face (big note for babies!) and keep your sunglasses on – they’ll also help prevent you from squinting in the bright sun.
• Seek out some shade during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (or at worst, between 11am and 3pm).
• Check the UV Index to identify the times that pose the greatest risk for overexposure to the sun.
If you do get burned and don’t have a special cooling lotion with you, natural yoghurt and aloe vera can help in the interim.
M is for Mosquito
Bugs and pests can play havoc during the warmer months so it’s no wonder many people use repellents or pesticides to keep their homes free of insects. If you’re the type to get eaten alive by mosquitoes, play it safe and bring your own plug in repellent device in case there isn’t one in your holiday apartment. There’s nothing worse than flopping into bed on the first night after a long journey to the resort and being eaten alive – just one mosquito can ruin your sleep.
Also, use caution when applying these chemicals and look for products labeled child and animal safe.
To help eliminate mosquito numbers, make sure you do not have standing water in any containers in the garden or on your terrace, as they can be a breeding ground. If you’re stung by a wasp, see a doctor if you can – the old wives remedies say “Ammonia for a Bee, Vinegar for a Wasp”. If any members of your family are allergic to wasp stings, get emergency help straight away.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to bring a mini medical kit with you, including an antihistamine cream, antiseptic cream for cuts or grazes, a couple of plasters, aspirin, anti-diarrhoea tablets and some ibuprofen. That way, for anything minor, you’ll save yourself a trip to the doctor.
Enjoy the warmer weather…here comes summer!