Heatwave advice issued as temperatures climb

Posted on: 20 June 2017

Public Health leaders are offering advice on how to beat the heat, in the wake of news today of a continued heat wave.

The Met Office has forecast that the hot weather will now continue until Thursday and Public Health England South West is issuing heatwave advice to local authorities across the peninsula.

Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:  “Most people are able to cope with this rapid rise in temperature by staying out of the sun, drinking plenty of water and protecting their skin by covering up.

“However, babies, older people and those with long term conditions especially underlying heart and lung conditions, can be very vulnerable to excess heat, so it’s important they are kept cool and well hydrated.”

Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for communities and public health, said:  “We’re currently enjoying a wonderful spell of sunshine and high temperatures, which, we hope, will enable people to enjoy getting out and about in their surroundings, and, for most of us, gives our wellbeing a boost.

“But not everyone is able to cope with the excess heat, so I’d encourage anyone who does know someone who might be at risk, to check on them to make sure they are coping, and see if they need any help.”

Temperatures today are expected to top 30C in many places – which is above the point at which hot weather can affect the public’s health.

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling.

The rest of us also need to take care when out and about in the sun and keep cool where we can, if travelling keep plenty of water with you and check weather forecasts.

There are lots of useful tips and guidance on NHS Choices website and more detail available in the Heatwave Plan for England. Up to date forecasts are available at www.metoffice.gov.uk

Unusual levels of UV are also being recorded in the UK at the moment – with the strength of the UV in some spots being as high as that measured in Cyprus and Gibraltar. This has prompted further PHE warnings that people should take extra care in the sun at the moment and should keep an eye on PHE’s UV monitors.

The Met Office’s Chief Meteorologist Dan Suri said: “High pressure is dominating our weather bringing warm, humid air from the tropical Atlantic resulting in these high temperatures and sunny conditions over the coming days. These hot and sometimes humid conditions will continue well into the middle of the week when conditions will start to turn more unsettled in some areas before fresher conditions finally start to move across the country from the north and west later this week.”

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing