Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is warning that areas around England may experience ‘heatwave’ conditions over the next few days, according to Met Office forecasts.
Warnings that a heatwave may be imminent are triggered when the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60% chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health.
This will normally happen two or three days before a heatwave is expected to occur. This is a critical stage to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave. During hot spells vulnerable groups, such as the older people, feel the acute effects of heat more than others and it’s long been recognised that death rates rise in the early stages of heatwaves.
Even if temperatures do not hit extreme levels, Public Health England (PHE) still advises people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.
Top advice for being sun safe:
• Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
• Wear sunscreen
• Wear loose cotton clothing
• Drink lots of cool drinks especially water
• Seek shade
• Wear sunglasses and a hat
• Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
Children and adults need to particular care when they are directly exposed to the sun, this includes attending outdoor events, such as school sports days.
Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.
Health and social care workers should regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26 degrees and ensure patients have access to cold water and ice.
Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan on the PHE website.
Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing, Derek Mills, said: “While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks.
“The elderly and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”
See the Heatwave Plan for England for more information or http://sunsmart.org.uk/UV-the-sun-and-skin-cancer/how-to-enjoy-the-sun-safely/