Heatwave alert: - Stay safe and well this Summer

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Heatwave alert: - Stay safe and well this Summer
19th July 2021

Stay safe and well during the hot weather

With temperatures high this week, health experts across the county are advising people to stay safe and well during the hot weather.

Shropshire Council’s Stay Safe and Well this Summer webpages offers a host of advice for people young and old, to help keep cool and hydrated throughout the hot weather.

The website also provides advice and information on home and personal safety, and signposts people to other summer-related advice including:

  • Summer health – NHS advice on how to stay well throughout the summer months
  • Heatwave advice – advice to ensure the hot weather doesn’t harm you or anyone you know
  • Insect bites and stings – tips and advice on what do if you’re stung or bitten by an insect
  • Skin care – advice on being ‘sun smart’ and help reduce the risk of skin cancer
  • Leisure safety – information and advice on water safety, camping and fireworks.

Why is a heatwave a problem?

The main risks posed by a heatwave are:

  • Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
  • Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • Heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler, and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling.

Beat the heat - Public Heath England infographic

Beat the heat – Public Heath England infographic

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for public health, said:-

“With temperatures high this week, we strongly advise residents to look after each other in the hot weather. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can both be very serious if they are not treated quickly, especially for our very young or very old, or for those with long-term illnesses.

“Our ‘Stay Safe and Well this Summer’ webpages provide a host of information and advice to help you keep well, whilst enjoying the sunny weather. I’d therefore encourage anyone seeking summer health advice to visit our pages at shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-summer/.

“We fully understand that people want to be outside during the warm weather, but please remember that if you or anyone in your household have symptoms of coronavirus you must stay at home to prevent the spread.”

COVID-19

We still have much to learn about how COVID-19 affects the body but both heat and the virus put a strain on the heart, lungs, and kidneys, and are linked to inflammation in the body.

People that suffer with the following clinical vulnerabilities will be at greater risk of COVID-19 and heat-related harms, and should continue to limit contact to reduce their risk and stay safe in the heatwave.

  • high blood pressure
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • heart and lung conditions (cardiovascular disease) •
  • conditions that affect the flow of blood in the brain (cerebrovascular disease)
  • kidney disease.

More advice can be found at Beat the Heat:  Coping with heat and COVID-19  and Beat the Heat: Coping with heat and COVID-19 guidance

River safety

On a hot day, it might seem like a great idea to cool down in open water. However, it is strongly advised to stay out of the water as there are too many risks that you can’t see hidden below the surface. Here are some tips to stay safe:-

  • Take notice of warning and guidance signs – water conditions are constantly changing
  • Swim parallel with the shore, rather than away from it, and avoid drifting in currents
  • Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
  • Alcohol and swimming should never be mixed
  • If walking or running keep away from the water’s edge and from people not from your household, and supervise youngsters at all times
  • Don’t use airbeds at open locations where they may be carried into deeper water and may not stay afloat
  • Don’t swim near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices
  • Only enter water where there is adequate supervision and rescue cover
  • Wear recommended safety equipment – for example life jackets/helmets for canoeing
  • Don’t jump/dive into open water unless you are sure of the depth and that there are no submerged hazards
  • Getting trained in first aid, rescue and resuscitation techniques could save a life
  • Ensure children know how to swim and that they do not enter the water alone.

Hayfever

Hayfever is the most common seasonal allergy, affecting one in five of us at some point in our lives, and the symptoms can make life very difficult for sufferers. It can come and go at any time in life so for those that haven’t had it before it can take us by surprise.

Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes as pollen causes the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed. As well as seeking advice from your local pharmacist to ease its symptoms, sufferers can take some basic precautions to help prevent hayfever, including applying a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum gel) below the nostrils to trap pollen grains, and wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in the eyes.

It’s also a good idea to take a shower and change your clothes after being outdoors, and try to stay indoors when the pollen count is particularly high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air).

Although there is no cure for hayfever, there are many over-the-counter remedies available from your local pharmacy to help make life and the condition easier to manage during the summer months. Pharmacists are fully trained health professionals who can offer useful advice on treatments for hayfever, such as antihistamines. Antihistamines help block the action of the chemical histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it is under attack from an allergen like pollen. Decongestants can also help to relieve a blocked nose which is often caused by hayfever, as well as dust allergies and pet allergies.

For those already taking regular medication, pharmacists can advise on the most appropriate treatments that won’t interfere with it. If you’ve tried over-the-counter medicines but are still struggling with troublesome symptoms it may be worth speaking to your GP, as you may need prescription medication.

Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be found on NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/summerhealth. You can also visit your local pharmacy or call NHS 111.

To find your nearest pharmacy in Shropshire visit http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Pharmacy/LocationSearch/10

For more information on staying safe and well this summer, visit Shropshire Council’s Stay Safe and Well this Summer at https://shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-summer/ 

Further Information

Heat-Health Alert from Public Health England and the Met Office

Level 3 – Heatwave Action

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/heat-health/?tab=heatHealth&season=normal#?tab=heatHealth

There is a 90 % probability of Heat-Health Alert criteria being met between just past midnight early tomorrow (Tuesday 20 July 2021) and 9am on Thursday 22 July 2021 in parts of England.

Latest forecast details can be obtained at the following link: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/#?tab=map

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