With temperatures set to soar today (25 July), the most senior nurse at Epsom and St Helier hospitals is urging people to stay safe in high temperatures and strong sunshine.
In recent days, the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for parts of the country, and has warned that temperatures could reach up to 39 degrees Celsius in London and the south east.
Chief Nurse Arlene Wellman explains why hot weather might become dangerous, she said: “In hot temperatures like these, people (especially those in high risk groups, such as the elderly, babies, young children, those with heart, respiratory and serious health problems) can suffer from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn.
“I would urge everyone to enjoy the heat and sun safely by making sure that you stay cool and hydrated – and don't forget sunscreen!”
Arlene’s top tips for keeping cool are:
- Keep windows closed when the room is cooler than it is outside
- Open windows at night when the temperature outside has dropped
- Reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows by closing blinds and curtains
- Have plenty of cold drinks, avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
- Have cool showers or baths, put a loose cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, or spray/splash your face with cold water frequently to help keep your body cool.
Staying in the sun too long, or prolonged exposure to heat, increases the risk of developing heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is not serious and usually gets better when you cool down. If it turns into heat stroke it needs to be treated as an emergency. Signs of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, feeling sick and confusion. If the person is no better after 30 minutes, or is not sweating though they are too hot, they could have heat stroke. If you are affected by any of these symptoms, it is important to cool down as quickly as possible and seek further advice from NHS 111 or a doctor. Call 999 if a person has collapsed.
If anyone you know is likely to be at risk during a heatwave, try to check up on them. You can also get help from the environmental health office at your local authority. They can inspect a home for hazards to health, including excess heat.