Keep Safe In The Heatwave


Whilst for most people the promise of scorching weather is positive news, some people struggle and are at risk of developing heat exhaustion and heatstroke. But who is most at risk during the heatwave? Well, on two opposite scales we have the elderly (especially those over 75) and babies; those with heart and breathing conditions; people with mobility problems (like Parkinson’s disease or who have suffered a stroke); individuals with mental health problems.

The risks of a heatwave include dehydration and overheating, which can lead to heatstroke - so those who are active (sports persons, labour workers, farmers) should take special care too!

I don’t know about you, but we started our day in the office today comparing notes on how to try and sleep during the heatwave - it seems everyone agreed that even during the night fans are just blowing out hot air which isn’t making things easier… So how do you cope when the weather is beautiful, but scorching?

  • Start by shutting windows - yes shut them! Windows will be letting in hot air, and there is no breeze to cool us, so shut your windows and doors and pull down blinds/curtains. You should open your windows again in the evening when it gets cooler.

  • Try not to go outside during peak times of the heatwave - that is between 11am and 3pm. Siesta anyone?

  • Make sure to have cool baths or showers after coming home from the heat, and use cold compresses on your head and body to keep temperature down.

  • Water, water everywhere! You need to make sure you are rehydrating your body so drink cool water and squash - but try avoiding drinks with high sugar content, coffee, tea, and alcohol.

  • Wear loose fitting clothing (cotton and linen are great fabric options in the summer) and make sure you have your necessary accessories: sunglasses, hat, and SPF!

  • Keep up to date with what’s happening - radio, news, or social media channels.

  • Make sure you are checking up on those around you who may need help: relatives, friends, and neighbours who may be vulnerable and more at risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

But do you know what to look out for when someone is not coping very well with the heat? Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Confusion

  • Chest pain

  • Breathlessness

  • Intense thirst

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Cramps which won’t go away or get worse

At this point you need to get the person somewhere cool, give them plenty of water to drink, and make sure they rest. Contact their GP or call NHS 111 for advice.

Thanks to our friends at NHS Choices for inspiring this blog post!

#Lifestyle #elderly

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