Do you know what safety precautions to take in hot weather?
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a heat-health alert as the Met Office forecasts high temperatures for the coming days.
With the news that there is a 90% probability of the Heat-Health criteria (extremely hot temperatures) being met later this week, it’s important that you and your loved ones know what a health alert is and follow top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives.
What is a health-alert?
The heat-health alert system comprises five levels – four levels of response in addition to level zero which relates to long-term, year-round planning. Temperature thresholds vary by region, but an average threshold temperature is 30°C by day and 15°C overnight for at least two consecutive days.
Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense. Before hot weather arrives, it is a good time to think about what you can do to protect yourself and your family and friends from heat. If spending time outdoors remember to take water or other hydrating drinks with you and protect yourself from the sun during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11:00-15:00.
For some people, especially older people and those with underlying health conditions,
the summer heat can bring real health risks. Temperatures indoors can be higher than temperatures outdoors. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.
How to keep cool and safe in hot weather:
• Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
• If you need to travel, ensure you take water with you.
• Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening.
Keeping your home cool
• keeping your living space cool is especially important for those who need to stay at home this summer.
• 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.
• 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.
Check on others
• Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather.
On car journeys
• Ensure that babies, children, or older people are not left alone in parked cars, which can quickly overheat.
Look out for the signs of heat-related harm
• If you feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst and a headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate. Avoid excess alcohol.
• If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, or abdomen), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Most people should start to recover within 30 mins and if not, you should seek medical help. Call 111 if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist.
• Call 999 if a person develops any signs of heatstroke as this is a medical emergency. Further information on heatstroke and heat-related illness are available here.
Enjoy the water safely
• During warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief.
• Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down.
• Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when UV radiation is strongest.
• If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes. To reduce the risk of sunburn, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection and wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.