Take care as hot weather and humid temperatures predicted for the city
17th July 2014 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in Weather
With temperatures set to soar this weekend and into next week, we thought we would offer you some advice on how to take extra care in the heat and look after yourself, your family, young children and older people.
At this time of year Leicester’s A&E department see people who have not been taking simple precautions in the sun and have then got very sunburnt or dehydrated. This puts strain on an already busy system and could mean preventing hospital doctors from treating the patients who need genuine emergency lifesaving care. This could be easily avoided if people follow the simple advice below.
The Met Office has predicted temperatures will reach 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) over the coming days and will not drop below 10 degrees (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. While most of us enjoy sunny weather, extreme heat can be potentially dangerous. In some extreme cases it can even be fatal.
The heat can affect anyone, but some groups run a greater risk of serious harm.
Older people, babies, manual workers and those who have chronic conditions such as heart problems, lung problems and diabetes need to take extra care.
Taking simple precautions such as wearing a sun hat, applying sun cream and keeping hydrated can go a long way to keeping people safe in the sun. There are simple steps people can take whilst out in the sun. Try to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm to avoid the main heat of the day. Drink plenty of water and soft drinks to keep hydrated and avoid alcohol.
If you are exposed to the sun wear a sun hat, apply sun cream throughout the day and avoid strenuous activity such as running, lifting and carrying.
If your condition isn’t serious and you are looking for some health advice please call your local GP first. If your GP is not available follow the out of hours instructions on the practice answerphone. Your local pharmacy can also help with sun advice and over the counter remedies. It is also important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with sun lotion, after-sun and rehydration sachets just in case you have spent too much time in the sun.
We would also like to remind patients of the range of other options when deciding how to look after yourself and your family when they become unwell. They include the following:
• Self care – This is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. A range of common illnesses and complaints can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest. (coughs, colds, stomach upsets, sore throats and headaches)
• Pharmacy – Your local chemist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment or go to your A&E. (coughs, colds, sore throats, ear and toothaches and emergency contraception)
• GP services – Your GP can help if you have an illness or injury that won’t go away. Simply make an appointment.
The types of health services provided by GP practice include:
• Diagnosis and treatment of all medical problems
• Planned care of all long term illnesses such as heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes
• Treatment of minor injuries
• Prescriptions and repeat prescriptions for medicines
• Preventive immunisations
• Travel vaccinations
• Contraceptive and sexual health adivce
• Mental health and emotional wellbeing
• Advice on any health problems or concerns
• Advice and guidance on healthy lifestyle choices and local groups/services
• Advice on, and referrals to, other health and social services
• NHS 111 – NHS 111 provides expert health advice and information via a confidential telephone service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 111.
• Urgent Care – Urgent care centres, walk-in centres and minor injuries units offer access to a range of treatment for minor illnesses and injuries including, lacerations, stomach upsets, burns and strains. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment.
• Accident and Emergency – An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation, and A&E departments or the 999 ambulance service should only be used in these situations. (traumatic blood loss, burns, breathing difficulties, suspected broken bones, fits, chest pain, stroke or loss of consciousness)
• Keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
• If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf.
• Avoid extreme physical exertion.
• Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
Cool yourself down:
• Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
• Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
• Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.
• Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
Keep your environment cool:
• Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselves
• Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the remperature.
• Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
• Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
• Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
• Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
• If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping.
• Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.
Look out for others:
• Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool.
• Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars.
• Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
• Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.
If you have a health problem:
• Keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
• Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications. e.g. diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure etc.
Check the weather forecast and any high temperature health warnings by visiting www.metoffice.gov.uk, you can also keep up to date with weather forecasts on your local BBC One news channel and BBC Radio Leicester on 104.9FM. If you feel unwell or are concerned about exhaustion or sunstroke call NHS 111 free of charge from a landline or mobile phone.