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Health advice during hot weather

25 July

Health advice during hot weather

Public health chiefs in Sandwell have issued advice to help people keep cool during the current hot weather.

Councillor Farut Shaeen, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for living healthy lives, said: “While many people will be enjoying the summer sun and warm weather, we are also reminding everyone that it’s important to stay cool and healthy.

“Hot weather can become dangerous, especially for the very young, very old and people with chronic illnesses.

“We would also encourage people to look out for any neighbours who are older or have illnesses, to make sure they are okay and are keeping cool.

“If someone is unwell or needs help, they should seek medical help.”

Call NHS 111 for help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.

Go to the NHS heatwave webpage for more information.

Stay out of the heat:

  • 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:

  • Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • 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:

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselves
  • 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
  • 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
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
  • 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

 Look out for others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool
  • Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars
  • Check on older 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
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist

Water safety: The council has also put out a summer holiday warning on the dangers of open water at the borough’s lakes, pools, ponds, canals and rivers. More advice available at our water safety webpage.

Free swimming is available for Sandwell children aged 16 and under at Sandwell leisure centres during school holidays. Go to our free swimming webpage for more information on how to register.

Advice about pets: Ensure pets have access to shade and fresh drinking water, never leave animals in hot cars, conservatories or caravans. Don’t walk your dog in high temperatures if the pavement is too hot to stand on in bare feet or to put your hand on.

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