Vulnerable residents advised to take extra care in the heat

Sefton health professionals have come together to urge residents to be aware of the health risks of hot weather to vulnerable people in the community.

In England, there are on average 2,000 heat-related deaths a year. The most at-risk people are those with underlying health conditions, babies, and the very young and older people – especially those over 75.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Enjoying the sun is one of the things that many people look forward to over the summer months but it is worth remembering that sunny spells can pose health risks for some people.

“It is important to protect yourself and others from too much sun or heat, to carry water when travelling and to think of those, such as young children or older people, who may feel the heat more acutely than others.

“Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense. It is a really good idea to think about what you can do to protect yourself and your family and friends from the heat.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, added: “People with long-term conditions should take extra care in hot weather. We do have a growing number of patients with diabetes and they need to be aware that hot sun can have an impact on them.

“People with diabetes should test their blood sugar levels regularly, avoid dehydration by drinking enough water and take precautions against sunburn as some patients can be particularly susceptible to burns on their feet either from the sun or hot ground.

“Community pharmacies can help you prepare for and avoid conditions associated with hot weather, such as insect bites and sunburn. Although it is vital that if you are feeling unwell and need urgent advice that you call NHS 111, which is open 24 hours-a-day.”

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, explained: “Temperatures indoors can be higher than temperatures outdoors and that is why we are urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you are able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.

“When using public spaces please do make sure to follow coronavirus socially distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly.”

Some key top tips to beat the heat this summer:

  • stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat.

To find out about the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and when to get help, visit: NHS Live Well

For more tips to beat the heat and cope with hot weather, visit: Public Health England

For information for people with diabetes about dealing with hot weather, visit: Diabetes UK

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