We love this time of year. Summer’s creeping closer, there are flowers and lambs everywhere, and we keep getting long weekends full of music, sunshine (probably) and fun times. Flipping great.

But with great weekends comes great responsibility, as a wise uncle once told a spider child (it was something like that anyway). Bank holidays are always double busy for NHS staff, so we’d appreciate it if you took some steps to keep yourself safe and healthy while you’re out enjoying the weekend, and avoid adding to the pressure. They’re really easy, we promise.

If the sun has got his hat on…
The weather’s getting warmer, and hey, if we close our eyes and wish really hard, maybe the sun will even come out for more than an hour. If you’re out enjoying the weather, remember to stay hydrated, stick some sun cream on and try to stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day (that’s between 12-3pm). It’ll reduce your risk of sunstroke and sunburn, (neither of which are particularly pleasant), not to mention longer-term conditions like skin cancer. We’ve got more advice for enjoying the weather safely, and what to do if you flat out ignore us and are now feeling rough on our summer page, so make sure you take a look.

Moderation isn’t a dirty word
Are you going to Quayside in Weymouth this weekend, Teddy Rocks in Blandford? Or having a BBQ in the garden? Whatever your plans, where there’s music, food and a bunch of people, there’s usually alcohol.

I’m not going to tell you not to have a few drinks (unless you’re underage, in which case NO BOOZE FOR YOU), but we will tell you to take it easy, and drink in moderation. Make sure you’re drinking water too so you don’t dehydrate.

We aren’t trying to ruin your fun, promise, but drinking too much puts you at risk of all sorts of nasty stuff, not least injury and illness that NHS services could do without having to deal with when they’re already stretched. So if you’re drinking this weekend, keep an eye on your alcohol intake and know when to stop. You might even wake up feeling human the next day!

If you do end up with a minging hangover (we warned you!), your nearest pharmacy will have some self-help medicines to help you get back on your grind.

Sort out your meds
I know we say this every holiday, but dang it, it’s important. Get stocked up on self-help medicines like paracetamol, ibuprofen, sun cream and aftersun. If you need advice on what to get, your pharmacist can help you out. There’s more information about what your pharmacy can do for you on our services page.

If you have regular prescription medicines, get them sorted before the weekend so you’ve got enough to last. Remember it takes a couple of days to fill a prescription, so make sure you’ve got leave enough time in the lead-up to the Bank Holiday to sort it out. If you do run out (sigh) give your GP practice a ring, they’ll be able to give you some advice.

Make sure you know where to go for help
Your GP practice and local pharmacy might have different opening hours over the bank holiday. Handily, there’s over 150 pharmacies dotted around Dorset, so chances are there’ll be one near you that’s available if you need it. There’s more information about pharmacies over at our services page, and you can find your nearest pharmacy and check if it’s open at NHS Choices.

Some GP surgeries will be offering extended practice time outside of their usual opening hours, either in the morning or the evening. Visit their website to check opening times.

Take a look at our services page for advice on where to go if you do get hurt or fall ill. Remember, you can always call NHS 111 for advice if you’re unsure.