Staying safe in the heat this summer

Local NHS health leaders want us to know how to enjoy the hot weather without ending up with heat exhaustion.

After more than a week of blue skies and record-breaking temperatures, health leaders in Morecambe Bay are urging people to keep cool and stay hydrated.

Forecasts for the high temperatures are set to continue into the middle of next week and with that comes the risk of conditions like heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious and gets better when you cool down. If it turns into heat stroke it needs to be treated as an emergency.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • temperature of 38°C or above
  • intense thirst
  • children may also seem floppy and sleepy

The heat can also exacerbate problems for people with long term conditions including asthma and so it’s important that people with asthma have their blue reliever inhaler with them at all times, especially in warm weather.

Dr Jim Hacking, GP in Morecambe Bay said: "We're not too sure why heat triggers asthma, but we know that it can.

"If you have got a blue inhaler, make sure you're keeping it cool because if it gets hot, it won't work as well.  So, avoid leaving it in a car glovebox or in direct sunlight. 

"Also, don't forget to use your preventer inhaler if you've been prescribed one."

Dr Andy Knox, Director of Population Health and Engagement in Morecambe Bay said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the good weather safely. Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them, ensuring they have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications”.

Advice for keeping safe in the heat:

  •  Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water

  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar

  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection

  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors

  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses

  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need

  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Local pharmacists and the free NHS 111 phone service will be able to offer more advice on health concerns as the warm weather continues.

You can also visit NHS Choices – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/