Get Set For A Hot Spell 

 

People in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales are being urged to get set for a hot spell, following predictions of high temperatures next week.  This page features some top tips for keeping cool in hot weather.

The heat is especially dangerous for the very young, older people or those with serious illnesses. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse. In extreme cases, excess heat can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

A spokesperson for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said:

“Keeping the home as cool as possible during hot weather and remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential. The elderly and those who are ill, are particularly vulnerable during hot weather and particularly in towns and cities." 

"Windows should be kept shaded and closed when the temperature is hotter outside than inside. People with respiratory problems should stay inside during the hottest part of the day.

"Advice on keeping healthy can be found on NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk or by calling NHS direct on 0845 4647 or your GP practice if you are concerned about health symptoms resulting from hot weather."


Top Tips

If you are vulnerable to hot weather (see risk factors, below) then the following tips may be helpful:

Stay out of the heat:

  • Keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion.
  • Wear light, loosefitting cotton clothes.

Cool yourself down:

  • Have plenty of cold drinks, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back
    of your neck.

Keep your environment cool:

  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature.
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
  • Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material inbetween them and the window space.
  • Consider putting up external shading outside windows.
  • Have your loft and cavity walls insulated – this keeps the heat in when it is cold and out when it is hot.
  • Use pale, reflective external paints.
  • Turn off nonessential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
  • Grow trees and leafy plants near windows to act as natural airconditioners.
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping.

Look out for others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool.
  • Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in
    stationary cars.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during
    a heatwave.
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.


Risk Factors

There are certain factors that increase an individual's risk during a heatwave. These include:

  • Older age: especially women over 75 years old, or those living on their own who are socially isolated, or in a care home.
  • Chronic and severe illness: including heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or renal insufficiency, Parkinson's disease or severe mental illness. Medications that potentially affect renal function, the body's ability to sweat, thermoregulation or electrolyte balance can make this group more vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Inability to adapt behaviour to keep cool: having Alzheimer's, a disability, being bed bound, too much alcohol, babies and the very young.
  • Environmental factors and overexposure: living in urban areas and southfacing topfloor flats, being homeless, activities or jobs that are in hot places or outdoors and include high levels of physical exertion.

In a moderate heatwave, it is mainly the high risk groups mentioned above who are affected.

If you are concerned then:

  • advice on keeping healthy can be found on NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk
  • information is also available by calling NHS direct on 0845 4647
  • if you are concerned about health symptoms resulting from hot weather, then advice is available by calling NHS direct on 0845 4647 or by calling your GP practice (ShropDoc out of hours)
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