People in East Sussex urged to look after themselves and others during hot weather this summer
NHS Heatwave plan - looking after yourself and others during hot weather – the latest advice
The NHS in East Sussex is urging everyone to see if you are at risk, think about your vulnerable family members, friends or relatives, and remember some top tips for staying cool.
To help people prepare for a heatwave, the Met Office has a warning system that issues alerts if a heatwave is likely. There are four levels of which Level 1 is the minimum and three other levels which are triggered if temperatures rise and become severe.
A top temperature of 31c by day and 16c overnight triggers a health alert (this figure varies slightly around the UK). These temperatures can have a significant effect on people's health, although it is important to remember any prolonged period of hot weather can have an effect.
Who is most at risk?
Anyone can experience heat related symptoms but some people may have a higher risk of serious harm. These include:
- Babies and young children.
- Older people, especially women and those over 75.
Also people with:
- A serious chronic condition, especially heart, kidney or breathing problems, or diabetes.
- Mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke.
- Serious mental health problems.
- People on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control.
- People who misuse alcohol or drugs.
- People who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports.
What should you do?
The best advice is to plan ahead and be prepared. Your local media will let you know if a heatwave is on the way.
It is best to avoid getting too hot in the first place, so keep your windows closed if it is cooler inside, close curtains or blinds, have plenty of cold drinks and avoid alcohol, and have regular cool baths or showers.
If you are going out, avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (11.00am to 3.00pm), stay in the shade and avoid strenuous activity. In addition people should remember to put on high factor sun cream to protect exposed skin and also wear appropriate cool, light clothing and children should wear a hat.
If you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms such as cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, weakness or problems sleeping, contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Looking out for others
The local NHS is urging everyone to also think of anyone else who may be at risk from hot weather.
Everyone can offer help and advice to the vulnerable in their community and make sure they know what to do to protect themselves.
Diana Grice, Director for Public Health NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings and Rother, said: “This is a serious issue. In one hot spell in August 2003 in England, the number of people who died aged 75 and over rose by 23%, with around 2000 extra deaths than would normally be expected.
“We need to do all we can to protect ourselves and each other. We do have a relatively high number of older people in East Sussex, and we need to recognise that and look after each other. Following simple advice and easy tips we can all avoid ill health and serious complications this summer.”
For more information about hot weather and your health please visit: