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Stay Healthy in Hot Weather

Author: James Rudd Published: 9th July 2010 13:25

Stay healthy in the hot weather


After seeing an increase in emergency hospital admissions due to the hot weather, NHS Northamptonshire is reminding people to enjoy the sunny weather but to take appropriate precautions with temperatures predicted to rise in the coming days.

Stephen Gunther, Public Health Specialist for NHS Northamptonshire, said: “Temperatures have been predicted to rise to close to 30 degrees in some parts of the county so precautions are advised if you are going to be spending lengthy periods in the sun, for example if you are planning to join the crowds at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Saturday or Sunday.

“During hot weather, the NHS in Northamptonshire sees an increase in calls relating to sunburn, dehydration and heat stroke, although many of these calls can be avoided if some simple precautions are taken.

“High temperatures can also seriously affect people with long-term conditions such as heart conditions or high blood pressure. If you have a long term condition you are advised to be particularly cautious during hot weather.”
Stay in the shade or indoors. The sun is at its most dangerous between 11am and 3pm. Find shade under umbrellas, trees or canopies. It is worth remembering that the temperature is at least a couple of degrees cooler if you are by water.

  • Use sunscreen and cover up. If you can't avoid being out in the sun apply sunscreen (factor 15+) and wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
  • Increase your fluid intake. The normal recommended daily intake of fluid is 2.5 litres or 8 glasses per day. In extreme heat experts recommend you drink more and include a range of different fluids.
  • Keep your home cool. Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation.
  • Look after the elderly. Older people are more prone to the effects of heat. If you have older relatives or neighbours you can help simply by checking on them and reminding them to drink plenty and often. Also help them to keep their house as cool as possible, using a fan if necessary.
  • Protect children. Keep a close eye on young children, who need plenty of fluids. A good way to check if they are drinking enough is that they are passing urine regularly and that it is not too dark. You should check nappies regularly. Babies and the very young must be kept out of the sun.
  • Avoid excessive physical exertion. If you are taking physical exercise you need to drink half a litre of fluid at least half an hour beforehand and continue to replenish your fluids after exercising.
  • Know the perils of outdoor eating. Warm summer weather is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria so it is especially important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until you are ready to eat them. When barbecuing always make sure you cook meat until it is piping hot, none of it is pink and all juices run clear.

  • Be sensible with alcohol. Hot weather speeds up the effects of alcohol so extra care should be taken when drinking. Alcohol will lead to dehydration so make sure that you alternate alcoholic drinks with water or fruit juice.
  • Keep cool at work. The office is often the coolest place to be in a heat wave. Ask your boss for air-conditioning or fans and open windows where possible. Keep windows shaded with blinds and if possible move your working position out of direct sunlight. Have plenty of breaks during the day to get cold drinks and cool down.


Remember, heat stroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke call 999 immediately. If you need medical advice or treatment you can:

•    Talk to a pharmacist
•    Call NHS Direct (0845 4647) – 24 hours  or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
•    Visit your GP surgery or Minor Injury Unit

 

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