Ambulance service warns of dangers during expected heatwave


Ambulance - Credit: Archant

THE region’s ambulance service are warning people against prolonged exposure to the sun after receiving a number of related calls including a child left in a pram.

A heat-wave has been forecast for this weekend throughout the region. Almost 5,000 emergency calls made to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) during the warm weather last weekend which was a thousand more than a fortnight earlier.

The most vulnerable in hot weather are the very young, older people or those with existing chronic or long-term medical conditions. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse and of course cause sunburn. In extreme cases, excess heat can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

John Martin, acting director of Clinical Quality, said that the effects of the hot weather include dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“We see some quite shocking examples of people just not looking after themselves or each other in the sunshine and it can easily be done. During the warm weather we have already had calls from people who have simply stayed out in the sun too long,” he said.

“A little forward planning can really help and by taking a few easy steps such as, making sure you cover up and put sun cream on 20 minutes before you go out into the sun, you can ensure that you enjoy your weekend.”

These are simple tips from NHS choices which everyone can follow to ensure they make the best of the weather:

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• Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.

• Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).

• Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.

• Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

• Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.

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

• Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.

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

• Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

As well as:

* Wear plenty of high-factor sun cream and don’t forget to top up regularly, and replenish after swimming.

* Use insect repellent if you are prone to bites

* If planning a barbecue, take all the usual precautions, ensure food is cooked thoroughly and protect yourself and others from flames. Never try to ignite a barbecue with an accelerant.

* Never jump into unsupervised lakes, rivers and weirs to cool down. The risk is too high and could quite easily end in a tragedy.

Anyone can be affected but those most vulnerable include: older people, especially those over 75; babies and young children; people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems; people with mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke; people with serious mental health problems; people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control; people who misuse alcohol or drugs; people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports.