Heatwave advice and guidance for being weather aware - 30 June 2015

Heatwave advice and guidance for being weather aware - 30 June 2015

As of today (Tuesday, 30 June) the Met Office have issued a Level 2 warning for an 80% probability of heatwave conditions across the South West, between Tuesday and Thursday of this week.

Temperatures are expected to build to heatwave conditions in Somerset on Tuesday 30 and into Wednesday 01 July, with the hottest day of the year so far expected to be on Wednesday. A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people in extreme heat are older people, especially those over 75, babies and young children, people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems, people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke, people with serious mental health problems, people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control, people who misuse alcohol or drugs and people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports.

If you notice someone who feels unwell, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink. Seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away.

If you're worried about yourself or a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative, you can contact the local environmental health office at your local authority. Environmental health workers can visit a home to inspect it for hazards to health, including excess heat. Find your local authority on the www.GOV.UK website. 

Public Health England advises the following regarding heatwave conditions:

  • Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you are outside wear UV sunglasses, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat and light scarf. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
  • avoid extreme physical exertion
  • 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
  • keep your environment cool: Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with long-term health conditions or who can’t look after themselves
  • a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom will help you 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, although be aware of security issues especially in ground floor rooms. 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 placing reflective material 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
  • electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C
  • look out for others: Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool. Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars. Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave. Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed
  • seek medical advice if you are suffering from a long-term medical condition or taking multiple medications
  • if you or others feel unwell seek medical advice via the 111 telephone line
  • if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee
  • if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, for example after sustained exercise during very hot weather), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.