PHE issue advice on staying healthy amid soaring temperatures

Summer Ice Cream

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a level 3 heat warning for much of England after forecasters predicted a further day of soaring temperatures.

The level 3 warning applies to the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East of England, London and the South East. A level 2 heat warning remains in place across the rest of England.

PHE is therefore urging people to take extra care while enjoying the summer weather, and making sure to keep a close watch on others who may be more vulnerable to the effects of the heat including elderly people, young children and those with health conditions.

Summer Hat

Dr Angie Bone, Head of Extreme Events at PHE says: “Now the heatwave has arrived, people will likely be out and about more enjoying the summer sun.

“But it’s important to remember that there are some people whose health suffers in hot weather. Older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children may all feel the ill-effects of heat over the coming days.

“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 help.”

Suggestions for keeping as cool as possible during a heatwave include:

  • Keep curtains closed in rooms that face the sun to keep temperatures down but remember keeping windows open may simply allow warmer air from outside, inside
  • Try to open windows on the cooler side of your home if possible
  • Use an electric fan to keep cooler air circulating
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids but try to avoid overly sugary, alcoholic or caffeine-loaded drinks
  • Never leave anyone to wait in a parked vehicle, in particular babies, young children or animals
  • Try to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day – typically between 11am – 3pm but remember, temperatures can still be very high outside of these times
  • Make sure babies and young children are kept out of direct sun wherever possible
  • If you must be outside during a heatwave, use plenty of appropriate factor sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat
  • Avoid physically exerting yourself during the hotter parts of the day – including gardening, exercising and heavy manual work
  • Try to wear cotton, loose-fitting clothing.

Baby Summer

 Dr Bone adds: “The hot weather will put an extra strain on bodies and people may feel the ill-effects.

“Each year we hear stories of people who have fallen seriously ill because, even though it’s hotter, they may wear clothes which are too warm for hot weather, they may not drink enough or try to do too much.

“We’re urging everyone to keep an eye on weather forecasts, follow our basic advice and keep an eye out for each other this summer. That way we can all help each other stay well.”

What is the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke?

According to NHS Choices, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two potentially very serious conditions that require immediate treatment. Both can occur during a heatwave at home or - in particular - when you are on holiday in a hot climate that you are not accustomed to.

Heat exhaustion occurs when you become overheated and begin sweating heavily, leading to a loss of water and salts from the body and a general unwell, slightly woozy feeling. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heatstroke, a more serious condition.

Heatstroke can quickly become a life-threatening situation which occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate its core temperature – this rises to a very high level, putting vital organs under serious strain. Symptoms can develop very quickly or build up more slowly, over the course of a few days. Symptoms include tiredness, weakness, feeling faint, headache, muscle cramps, vomiting, intense thirst, a fast heart rate and low blood pressure. If you suspect heatstroke, seek urgent medical help.

For more on what to do to help someone suffering from heat exhaustion, visit NHS Choices.

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