‘Stay safe in hot weather’ warns Public Health Cornwall as temperatures soar

‘Enjoy the hot weather but stay safe’ is the message from Cornwall Council’s Public Health team as temperatures continue to soar across the county.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office have issued a Level 3 heat-health alert for Cornwall and the South West.

It will be in place until 9am on Friday July 15, with warm weather forecast across the country throughout the course of next week.

Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:

“Most of us enjoy the hot weather but it is important to keep yourself hydrated and to find shade where possible when UV rays are strongest, between 11am and 3pm.

“To avoid sunburn and heatstroke it is also a good idea to use factor 30 or higher suncream and reapply regularly, especially if you have gone in the water. Remember too that a breeze might cool you down but it will not stop UV rays from burning you.

“If you have vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, make sure they are aware of how they can keep themselves protected from the worst of the heat.”

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down
  • check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging

More information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke are available on NHS.UK

UKHSA’s Beat the heat checklist identifies suitable actions people can take to protect themselves during periods of hot weather.

Read the COVID-19 and summer temperatures blog for advice on how to stay well in hot weather.

Keep vulnerable people and children safe

People are urged to look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated, such as neighbours, friends and loved ones who may be more vulnerable in the hotter weather.

This could especially affect older people, those aged over 75 and people with long term health conditions. Make sure they are staying hydrated and following the tips for keeping cool.

Young children, the elderly and people with long-term health conditions are all at more of a risk of heatstroke, so please help them to stay safe too.

Water safety

During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool-down, take care and follow local safety advice.

  • While you might expect the water to be warm, it could still be cold, and that could mean you get Cold water shock. Low water temperature can numb limbs and render the strongest swimmer helpless in minutes. 2/3 of accidental drowning involve strong swimmers.
  • Currents or water conditions – water does not need to be moving very fast to sweep you off your feet and there may be strong currents even in still water.
  • Alcohol consumption – alcohol severely affects your hazard perception, co-ordination and resistance to the cold.
  • Swimming Competency – don’t assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges and temperatures of open water swimming.

If you’re heading to the beach, choose one patrolled by RNLI lifeguards and follow the flag system

Beach barbecues

If you are planning a beach barbecue you should remember to dispose of it safely and take rubbish home with you.

Plastic bins and hot barbecues do not mix. If there isn’t a designated barbecue bin available, you should make sure your barbecue is cold and then take it home.

Never bury hot barbecues in the sand. It could cause serious injuries to others.

If you’re staying in the garden for a BBQ, check out our Fire Service safety tips

Keeping your home cool

Keeping your living space cool is especially important for those who need to stay at home while it’s hot outside. We’ve got some tips to try to help you beat the heat indoors:

  • Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. External shutters or shades, if you have them, are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat.
  • If possible and safe, open windows at night if it feels cooler outside.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
  • During the hottest periods find the coolest part of your home or garden/outside or local green space to sit in. If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.

For more tips in how to cope in a heatwave visit the NHS website.

Press release published on July 14, 2022.

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