Heatwave alert warning for vulnerable Kent residents
15 June 2017
A heatwave warning has been announced for Kent, leading to advice by health experts to help vulnerable residents stay safe and well.
The level two alert has been triggered by a Met Office forecast of a 70 per cent chance of temperatures reaching heatwave conditions over the weekend and into Monday.
As most heat-related deaths occur in the first two days, this is an important stage at which to make sure people are ready – and swift action can be taken to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.
Health and social care workers have already identified the people they care for who are most at risk and made plans to protect them if the heatwave happens. Now that a heatwave is forecast, staff will be checking on vulnerable people and making sure steps are taken to protect them.
KCC is also supporting the NHS campaign “Cover Up, Mate” which aims to encourage men who work outdoors, such as farmers, builders, gardeners and sportsmen, to take a safer approach to the sun in summer in order to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer; the incidence of skin cancer in men is increasing at a faster rate than it is for women.
KCC Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “We’re not wanting to spoil anyone’s fun in the sun but sadly figures do show a huge increase in A&E attendances during spells of hot weather. We know most people do take sensible precautions so we just want to remind them to help out those vulnerable friends, family and neighbours – those who may be less able to look after themselves – and make sure they have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications they need.”
Key advice in hot weather includes:
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
- Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. Take water with you if travelling.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, older people, young children or animals.
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter). Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors. Wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to eyes and apply a sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection.
People are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt, NHS111 can help you get the right treatment or go to www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx
The free web app Health Help Now can be used to check symptoms or to find out when and where local services are open. It can be downloaded to mobile phones (from the App Store and Google Play), tablets, laptops and desktop computers from www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net
More information about what KCC is doing to protect the people of Kent is available through www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave
More information about the Heatwave Plan for England is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england
More information on the NHS “Cover up Mate” campaign is available through www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx