Heatwave health warning

A health warning is being sounded following predictions of a Sussex heatwave over the next five days.

Monday, 18th July 2016, 1:54 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:44 am

The NHS in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex is urging people to take extra care after the Met Office predicted a 60 per cent chance of a heatwave from today.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures will reach as high as 30C which, without adequate protection, could cause sunburn and heatstroke.

Experts say that chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma and hayfever, are often made worse by the heat and high pollen count.

But sufferers can help prevent their conditions from worsening by stocking up on medication from local pharmacies or their local GP if necessary.

Dr Simon Dean, CCG Clinical Director and Horsham GP, said: “Please make sure you are prepared for the hot weather and in particular, that you look out for vulnerable or elderly

neighbours, friends and family.

“Our local pharmacists are highly trained healthcare experts and can dispense good advice as well as prevention remedies and treatments for many conditions worsened by hot weather.”

You can reduce your risk of sunburn by the following:

Avoid exposure to sunlight when the sun is strongest 11am-3pm – stay in the shade as much as possible, cover up with loose clothing and a hat, and use sunscreen.

Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun, choose one that has a high sun protection factor (SPF) – sunscreen with an SPF of 50 offers the best level of protection.

Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight.

The symptoms of heatstroke can develop over several days in vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with long-term health problems. Symptoms can develop more quickly when

associated with physical activity; this type of heatstroke usually affects young, active people.  

Symptoms of heatstroke include high temperature – a temperature of 40°C (104°F) or above is one of the main signs of heatstroke (although it can be diagnosed at lower temperatures);

heavy sweating that suddenly stops – if the body cannot produce any more sweat, the skin will become dry which is a major warning sign that the body has become over-heated and dehydrated;a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and

muscle cramps.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance if you think that you or someone you know has heatstroke.

Tips for coping in hot weather:

Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.

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).

Have cool baths or showers.

Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.

Further sources of information and advice:

Public Health England (PHE) has advice on how to stay safe during a heatwave (PDF, 417kb).

NHS Choices: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx