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It’s getting hotter - stay well in the heatwave

The Met Office has issued a Level 3 Heatwave Alert for the South East Region, which means there is a 90% probability of heatwave conditions between Thursday and Sunday in parts of England, including Hampshire. The trigger level for the South East is 31°c on two or more consecutive days and 16°c during the night. 

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, Councillor Judith Grajewski, said, “It’s really important to look after yourself and those around you in the heatwave by following advice for protecting yourself, anyone you care for and people who are vulnerable to the heat. Above all, don’t underestimate the temperature and take action to stay well whilst heatwave conditions prevail.”  

Groups particularly affected include babies and very young children, older people, people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or kidney problems, Parkinson’s disease or severe mental illness, as well as those on medications which affect renal function, sweating or make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Some housing situations may also affect people’s ability to keep cool, such as living near the top of high-rise flats or being homeless. 

The Department of Health has issued advice which is particularly important for those in the high risk groups: 

Stay out of the heat:

  • 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 a high SPF sunscreen and wear a hat and/or 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:  

  • Keep your living space cool – this 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 temperature;

  • 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.

What to do if you or someone you know is unwell:

Even people who are usually fit and well need to take particular care during a heatwave. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can affect anyone. In addition, it is important that outdoor workers stay out of the sun and take measures to keep cool and hydrated. For more information on heat-related illnesses and what to do should you or someone you know feel unwell visit NHS Choices. Alternatively, call NHS 111 or a GP. Call 999 in an emergency.

It is best to cancel all non-essential travel in the heatwave but if you must travel, acquaint yourself with the AA’s advice for planning ahead to avoid congestion, keeping everyone cool in hot cars and spotting poorly passengers.

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