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Health, hygiene and wellbeing

Health, hygiene and wellbeing

Hygiene

Make provision for regular hand washing, especially prior to meals and for those preparing food. Encourage everyone to maintain personal hygiene, and provide opportunities which encourage this such as water activities and swimming. Make sure that you ensure that washing facilities are appropriate to provide privacy.

Insects

Ticks are more prevalent in hot weather, make sure that you check the area you are visiting to find out if ticks are in that area and if so follow the tick guidance.

Use insect repellent to stop bites from mosquitos and midges.

Wellbeing

It’s really important that everyone looks out for each other, apply the Scouting principles of team work to help make sure that everyone is ok. Encourage young people to support each other, using Lodges, Sixes, Patrols and also assign adults to support specific groups. Make sure that your programme responds to the needs of the group, if everyone is starting to get too hot, provide a rest break, move activities into the shade etc.

Dehydration

People can become dehydrated under any conditions, simply by failing to sufficiently replace their natural fluid loss.

Signs of dehydration include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, eyes, and lips, lack of appetite, impatience, lethargy, nausea, headaches, tiredness, dizziness or light-headedness, inability to walk, and delirium. 

It’s better to prevent than to treat, so plan in refreshment breaks, make sure everyone has a water bottle and carries it with them and plenty of drinks available. If you do need to treat dehydration, find a shady area for you or your young person to rest in, drink fluids slowly, keep cool and avoid sweating. 

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is caused by a severe loss of water and salt from the body through excessive sweating. It often affects people who aren’t used to the heat but it can also happen to those who are already unwell, especially if they’ve been vomiting or had diarrhoea. Heat stroke is an extreme form of heat exhaustion which requires immediate medical treatment to bring the person’s temperature down, as they are no longer able to regulate their own temperature. 

Signs of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps (especially in the arms, legs and abdomen), headaches, dizziness, confusion, cold sweats, clammy skin, nausea and loss of appetite, rapid shallow breathing, and delirium or unconsciousness. 

Prevent heat exhaustion by providing plenty of shade, adapting your programme to respond to the weather conditions, this could be making use of the cooler evenings and having rest periods in early afternoon when it’s hotter. Keep everyone hydrated.

To treat heat exhaustion, you or your young person should rest in a shaded area with legs propped up. Drink lots of cool liquids, preferably water. Loosen clothing and cool skin with damp cloths or cool water. Ensure you or your young person gets medical attention from a doctor, even after recovery. 

Tick guidance

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Dehydration guidance

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Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

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