Much of England may experience “heatwave” conditions from Tuesday this week. Public Health England offers advice on staying safe in the heat.
The Met Office has forecast potential heatwave conditions for all parts of England except the north east, and has declared a Level 2 Heat-health alert.
This warning is triggered when the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60% or greater chance of temperatures being high enough on at least 2 consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health.
Dr Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection at Public Health England (PHE), said:
While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
The Heatwave Plan, which we published earlier this year, is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during hot weather.
We strongly encourage each locality to consider the actions in this plan and adapt them to their local situation, as a component of wider resilience planning and long-term climate change adaptation arrangements.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy the good weather safely. Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them, help them stay hydrated with plenty of cool drinks, and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.
Try to keep bedroom and living spaces cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat. A trip to a park where there’s lots of shade or a public building that is air conditioned, may help offer some relief from the heat for vulnerable people.
Many members of the Muslim community may be fasting during the current period of Ramadan. During hot weather it’s important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water. The Muslim Council of Britain and the NHS have published lots of useful information for those likely affected during this period.
Advice for keeping safe in the heat:
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection
- wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
- wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and light scarf
- drink lots of cool drinks
- look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan for England on the PHE website.
Public Health England (PHE) exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.
Published: 29 June 2015
From: Public Health England