Borough Insight

Safe and well this summer - keep your cool!

Although most of us welcome the summer sun, if the current high temperatures continue or further increase there may harm to your health.Eggs

In very high temperatures the advise from Public Health England is:

  • keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • 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, loose-fitting cotton clothes

Cool yourself down

  • Keep yourself hydrated (see elsewhere in this issue of eBorough Insight)
  • 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

  • all electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers should be switched off when not in use and should not be left in ‘standby mode’ – electrical equipment, when left on or in ‘standby’ mode, generates heat
  • keep the use of electric lighting to a minimum during heatwaves
  • keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open at night (if it is safe to do so) when the temperature has dropped
  • windows not exposed to the sun and other ventilation openings should not be closed, but their openings reduced when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors – this should help keep rooms cool whilst allowing adequate ventilation (but ensure security is not compromised)
  • close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun, however, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or
    putting reflective material in-between them and the window space
  • 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
  • electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°c

Children’s susceptibility to high temperatures varies; those who are overweight or who are taking medication may be at increased risk of adverse effects. Children under four years of age are also at increased risk. Some children with disabilities or complex health needs may be more susceptible to temperature extremes.

  • on very hot days (ie where temperatures are in excess of 30°C) children should not take part in vigorous physical activity
  • children playing outdoors should be encouraged to stay in the shade as much as possible
  • loose, light-coloured clothing should be worn to help children keep cool and hats of a closed construction with wide brims should be worn to avoid sunburn
  • thin clothing or sun cream should be used to protect skin if children are playing outdoors for more than 20 minutes
  • children must be provided with plenty of cool water and encouraged to drink more than usual when conditions are hot (the temperature of water supplied from the cold tap is adequate for this purpose)

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

If you have a health problem

  • keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications

If you or others feel unwell

  • try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache
  • move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
  • drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
  • rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot
    weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes.
    • medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
  •  dial 101 or consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist

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