21 May 2018

Beat the heat!

The heat of the sunshine is welcomed by most of us after a hard winter, however high temperatures can be harmful to your health. As we approach the hottest days of the summer as healthcare professionals we need to be aware of those most affected by the heat. 

Heat can affect anyone, but there are some people who are more vulnerable and at risk than others, including older people, especially those over 75. There are steps you can take to ensure that you look after yourself and those around you.

Be prepared

The Met Office issues warnings if a heatwave is predicted, a level 1 alert is usually between the 1st of June and the 15th of September. Keep an eye out for the warnings and alerts from the Met Office.

Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies during a heat wave, such as food, water and medication.

Know how to cope

The following steps you can take to ensure that you look after yourself and those who are at risk.

  • Shut windows and pull down the blinds to keep the heat out
  • Have cool baths and showers to bring your body temperature down
  • Drink cold drinks regularly 
  • Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine or drinks with high sugar content as these can dehydrate you
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, if you go outside wear a hat, sunglasses and suncream

Check on your neighbours

Friends, relatives and neighbours may be unable to look after themselves during hot weather so check in on them regularly.

How to identify if someone needs help?

If you or someone else is feeling unwell the following symptoms may be shown:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Intense thirst
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps 

In the first instance get the person affected someone cool to rest and give them plenty of fluids to drink. Then seek professional help from either a GP or contact NHS 111. In severe cases ring the emergency services.