Blog: It’s getting hot out there – advice for staying safe during a Heatwave

Most of us look forward to the summer months – however high temperatures can sometimes take us by surprise and be dangerous to our health.  With more sunshine on the way, our Public Health team shares their advice on keeping cool and staying safe – and why it’s essential we keep a closer eye on children, the elderly and vulnerable people.

“For the majority of us, warmer weather is something we look forward to – picnics in the park, BBQs with friends or simply catching some rays.

There are many benefits of the sunshine – not only a boost to our vitamin D, but to our wellbeing too – so our advice is always to enjoy, but to do it safely.

Risk like sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion can be well managed if we are prepared and remain aware – so here’s some key advice on reducing the impact of the heat on your health.

  • Drink lots of cold drinks, avoid excess alcohol and carry water if you head outside.
    Aim for 6-8 glasses a day.
  • Use sunscreen – minimum SPF 30. Top up every 2-hours, and always after swimming. Sunburn is never fun!
  • Wear loose fitting clothes, a hat and sunglasses.
  • Stick to the shade between 11 and 3 – as this is when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest.
  • You don’t have to stop exercising but avoid it during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms which face the sun – and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
  • Take cool baths or showers to stop yourself from overheating.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed parked vehicle – including animals.
  • Check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on their packaging (kept below a certain temperature.)

Even when we follow the above advice, things like heat exhaustion can still catch us out – babies, older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk when temperatures rise as they can struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated.

The British Red Cross has created this quick guide for what to look out for if the heat takes its toll.

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes.

If it turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency, so seek medical advice immediately.

For advice on what to do, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/

If you have vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, make sure they know how to keep themselves safe too.

Let’s enjoy the sunshine safely whilst it’s here – because let’s face it, the rain clouds will probably follow soon!”

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