We’re in the grip of a truly epic summer meaning warm weather and baking sunshine. While most of us love the heat it can cause problems for some people, writes Colleen Marples.
Older people and people with heart, respiratory and other serious health problems are most vulnerable when the temperature starts to rise.
The main risks posed by a prolonged spell of hot weather, or a heatwave, are:
* Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Symptoms to be aware of include breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, intense thirst, weakness, dizziness and cramps which get worse or don’t go away
Seek help from a GP or contact NHS 111 if someone is feeling unwell and shows any of the signs above.
To make sure everyone stays safe in the sun check out our top tips:
*Stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
* Ensuring adequate ventilation
* Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors. The more skin that’s covered by your clothing, the better the protection you’re getting. Choose clothing that’s loose-fitting and deeper in colour. Also look for materials with a close weave - as a guide hold the material up to check
you can’t see through the fabric
* Shut windows and pulling down blinds when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
* Drink regularly - water or fruit juice is best and try to avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
* Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter)
Remember to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves and ensure they’ve got all the food and medications that they might need.
If you’re venturing out in the sun use a sunscreen with a protection level of at least SPF15 and 4 stars. Use it generously and reapply regularly.
Remember that sunscreens will not completely protect you from sun damage on their own. However, they are vital for protecting the parts of skin that you can’t shade or cover.
It’s recommend that you always buy sunscreens with:
* Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 (UVB protection)
* High star rating with at least 4 stars (UVA protection)
And finally don’t forget to check the expiry date on your sunscreen. Most have a shelf life of two to three years.
For more information and help visit www.nhs.uk/heatwave
You can also follow @DCCPublicHealth for #HeatHealthTips