Local NHS urges public to stay safe during heatwave

Due to soaring temperatures throughout the country this weekend and into early next week, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS services are urging the public to stay safe and take precautions.

Children, older people and other vulnerable groups can easily fall victim to the sun’s heat and rays, and it is also important to be aware that higher temperatures can exacerbate the symptoms of long-term health conditions, such as respiratory and heart conditions.

As the warmer weather is set to continue for a few days NHS services in Lancashire and South Cumbria are urging everyone to take particular care during the hot spell.  People must be careful not to leave children or vulnerable people exposed to high temperatures or strong sunlight for prolonged periods of time, whether outside or inside a car.

Stocking up on sunblock (preferably sun factor 50), drinking plenty of fluids, walking in shade and avoiding excess alcohol are just a few tips for coping with hot weather.

Dr David Levy, chief medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Like a lot of people I very much enjoy the sunny weather and intend on going for a nice walk this weekend, however, I will be taking precautions, like taking of plenty of water, applying high-factor sunblock and taking my phone with me in case I need to call for help.

“If you’re out and about during this heat wave and you suffer from allergies, remember to take the right medication with you and please check in on neighbours and loved ones who suffer the most from heat and pollen.”

Thousands of people each year are admitted to hospital because of heat-related ailments, including severe sunburn, heat exhaustion and sun and heat stroke.

Being out in the great outdoors at this time of year also presents a risk for those with allergies with an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital due to the effects of pollen and from being stung by wasps, hornets and insects.

A few tips to protect yourself if you’re at home:

  • If it’s cooler inside than out, shut and shade your windows.
  • If it’s hotter inside than out, open windows for ventilation and try to get air flowing around the home.
  • If you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat or you have a pre-existing medical condition, try not to go out in direct sunlight between the hours of 11am – 3pm.  However, be aware the maximum temperature on a hot summer day almost always occurs after 3pm, typically between 4pm and 5pm.
  • Drink cold drinks such as water or fruit juice regularly to stay hydrated, but try to avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • If you’re going outside, stay in the shade, wear a hat, cool, covering clothes and apply sunscreen.

If you’re going on holiday or on a day out, make sure you’re prepared especially in case of being stuck in extreme temperatures in a car or train:

  • Take plenty of fluids, preferably in a cool bag.
  • Pack a hat for everyone and enough sunscreen (and apply regularly).
  • Make sure that any available air ventilation is working.
  • Take regular breaks allowing both the driver and passengers chance to move about and get some fresh air.
  • If anyone remains in the car, make sure it is not for a prolonged period and ensure they have access to ventilation and fluids.
  • Do not leave children unattended in a hot car.
  • Do not leave pets unattended in a hot car.

For more information on how to cope in hot weather visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/.

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