The UK has been hit with a heatwave this week.
Most of us welcome this hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long, there are potential health risks. When a heatwave hits over the summer, make sure you are prepared so the hot weather does not harm you or anyone you know.
What are the main risks during a heatwave?
- Heat exhaustion or heatstroke
Can anyone be affect by these risks?
Yes. Anyone can be affected by the above risks during a heatwave if you do not take the necessary precautions, however there are certain groups who pose more of a risk than others.
- Babies and young children
- People with mobility problems
- People with long-term health conditions e.g. heart or breathing problems
- People with mental health issues
- People on certain medications
- People will physically active jobs e.g. athletes or builders
It is really important to be prepared for any heatwaves coming our way. The first step to take is to ensure you to check the weather reports regularly (especially through the summer months) and keep your eye on any alerts issued by the MET office.
If you are aware of a heatwave coming your way, here are some tips in able to stay cool and lower the potential risks of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- ensure your home has the appropriate ventilation
- know where the cool spots of the house are throughout the day
- stay hydrated with fresh drinking water
- avoid the sun during the hottest hours (between 11am - 3pm)
- take cool baths or showers
- avoid alcohol
- wear loose clothing that won't stick to your skin
- wear a hat and suncream if you do need to go outdoors
- avoid exercise
- have a cooling system in the home e.g. a fan or air-con
- check on friends and family who may be vulnerable
The difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Heat exhaustion is not usually life threatening if you can cool down within 30 minutes, but if this last for longer and escalates into heatstroke it needs to be treated as an emergency.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion to look out for:
- loss of appetite
- excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
- fast breathing or pulse
- high temperature of 38C or above
- Move them to a cool and shaded place.
- Have them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
- Ensure there is plenty of water available for them to drink.
- Attempt to cool their skin using a water spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them.
- Stay with them until they are better.
They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes. If not seek emergency help.
Stay safe everyone.