West Essex PCT: Be prepared and keep cool as temperatures remain high

WITH temperatures remaining high NHS East of England is reminding the public to be prepared and to look after themselves and others during the heatwave.

The Met Office issued a Level 2 heatwave alert on Friday warning that there is a 60 per cent chance of heatwave conditions in the east of England when temperatures could rise to 30C in the day and remain at 15C at night, between Sunday and Tuesday.

Extreme heat can be harmful to everyone so it is important to be prepared.

During heatwaves it is important that people take care of themselves and others, particularly vulnerable groups who run the risk of more serious harm from exposure to prolonged heat.

These include older people, especially those aged over 75; people suffering from long-term illnesses or on certain types of medication; babies and young children; and people who are physically active such as manual workers, sportsmen and women.

There are many things people can do to reduce the risks of heat exhaustion or heatstroke such as:

* Drinking plenty of fluids regularly especially water and avoiding drinks that will dehydrate you such as alcohol

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* Keeping out of the heat and avoiding going out in the midday sun, the hottest part of the day

* If you do go outside to enjoy the sunshine, stay in the shade if possible and always wear a hat and a t-shirt

* If going out in the sun make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen

* Help older relatives or neighbours by checking on them every day, and reminding them to drink plenty and often.

Dr Anne McConville, acting Regional Director of Public Health with NHS East of England, said: “We want to make sure everyone enjoys the sunshine sensibly and avoids getting ill. There are lots of things people can do to look after themselves and most are just common sense.

“Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of illness during hot conditions so it is essential to make sure you drink plenty of water, wear a sun hat and t-shirt and avoid long periods sitting in direct sunlight, especially in the middle of the day.

“Always apply plenty of sunscreen to yourself and your children, and look after the elderly and those suffering from long term conditions by checking on them regularly and making sure they are staying cool and drinking plenty of fluids.

“If you do become ill seek the appropriate medical help for your condition. In most cases viral infections (upset stomachs) and seasonal illnesses like hayfever, mild sunburn and mild sunstroke can be self treated and you can seek advice from your local pharmacy or the NHS Direct website. However, it’s much better to prevent conditions like sunburn and sunstroke by wearing a hat and t-shirt and applying plenty of sunscreen.”

For emergencies, always call 999 or get to your nearest A&E as soon as possible.

For everything else there is a range of services available including community pharmacies, NHS Direct, walk-in centres, your local GP and GP out of hours services.

For tips on keeping well during the hot spell visit NHS Choices nhs.uk

For advice on treatments for more common illnesses and ailments visit the NHS Direct website at nhsdirect.nhs.uk