Experts at Public Health Wales are warning people to take extra care in the very hot weather that is forecast over the next few days with temperatures expecting to reach the mid-thirties by Saturday in some parts of Wales.
Very hot weather that lasts for a few days, or more, can cause dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It’s very important to look after children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Check in regularly with loved ones, friends, family and neighbours.
It is advised to make changes to your usual routine to help cope with the extreme heat. This includes avoiding strenuous activity in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest, drinking plenty of water and wearing a hat, sun cream and light coloured, loose-fitting clothing, ideally with long sleeves. Keep rooms cooler by closing blinds and curtains and closing windows.
Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health at Public Health Wales said:
“We are not used to very hot weather in Wales, so it is important that people don’t just treat it like another hot day. You should take extra care to follow the health advice to protect yourself and others.”
Think carefully before you undertake activities and always plan ahead. If you are going to be outdoors, make sure it is in a place where there is plenty of shade. Try to avoid long car journeys too. If you are organising an outdoor event, make sure you have done a risk assessment that includes the heat.
Young children find it difficult to regulate their body temperature, so take care to keep them cool. Don’t cover babies’ prams or buggies with blankets or cloths – this prevents air circulating and can make it hotter for them. If little ones sleep in a room that is difficult to cool, use lighter bedding and clothing and open the door and a window, if it is safe to do so.
If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache during the hot weather, tell someone and take the following action.
- Move to a cool place as soon as possible
- Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
- Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or stomach after sustained exercise during very hot weather) and drink milk or fruit juice
- Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
- Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist
Symptoms of heatstroke:
· Feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
· Not sweating, even while feeling too hot
· A high temperature of 40c of above
· Fast breathing or a shortness of breath
· Feeling confused
· A fit (or seizure)
· Not responsive
The hot temperatures may make it tempting to jump into rivers, lakes and other water, but the water may still be very cold and there is a danger of suffering cold-water shock.
If you do get into trouble in the water, remember to #FloatToLive. The dangers of drowning are also higher if people have been drinking or taking drugs.
More information about extreme heat is available at phw.nhs.wales/ExtremeHotWeather.