This article was published on July 17, 2014 and information contained within may now be out of date.
Residents are being warned to stay safe in the summer sun as the highest temperatures of the year are expected over the next few days.
With temperatures expected to reach 29 Celsius, the Met Office has issued its yellow warning.
An official heat health warning is triggered when temperatures are high enough on two consecutive days and during the night to have a significant affect on health.
Look out for the symptoms of heat exhaustion in yourself, as well as in family, family, friends and neighbours, particularly older people and infants.
In a severe heatwave you may get dehydrated and your body may overheat, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Keeping yourself cool will reduce the risk of illness.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
nausea and vomiting
muscle weakness or cramps
If you experience any of these symptoms you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If you can, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge yourself down with cold water. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning. It can be serious, resulting in irreversible damage to the body, including the brain and in extreme cases death. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you feel unwell.
Who is at risk?
The heat can affect anyone, so even if you are fully fit, it’s important to take precautions to stay cool during hot weather. Some groups are more at risk of serious harm due to the heat, including children and babies, older people and those with ongoing physical or mental health conditions. Mostly it’s a matter of common sense. Listen to your local weather forecast so you know if a heatwave is on the way.
Here’s Lincolnshire County Council’s advice for the best ways to avoid the risk of ill health during the hot weather:
Staying sun and heat safe outside
Avoid going out between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest
Make sure the sunscreen you are using is SPF15 or higher
Wear UV wraparound sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to your eyes
Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening. If you can’t avoid it keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton.
Take care when you’re outside with children. Metal play equipment can get very hot in the sun and even cause burns.
Keeping yourself and your home cool
Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
Close curtains on windows let a lot of sun into your home. However, metal blinds and dark curtains can absorb heat so a lighter material will be best for keeping the room cool.
Keep windows that are exposed to daytime sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. Be aware of security issues of open windows, especially in ground floor rooms.
A thermometer in your main living room and bedroom will help you keep a check on the temperature
A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, or spraying or splashing your face and the back of your neck with cold water several times a day can help keep you cool, so can a lukewarm shower.
Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best
If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you
Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
Keep an eye on isolated, ill or older people, as well as babies and young children.
Check on older people and sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
Help people older people and people with long-term health conditions to keep their living space cool, follow the tips above
Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell and needs further help
Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars
Who to contact for advice
Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or call 111 if you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.
If you have symptoms of heat exhaustion, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away