Hot weather on the way

Hot weather on the way

Wigan Borough may experience weather hot enough to trigger heat health alerts over the next few days, according to Met Office forecasts.

Warnings that alerts may be imminent are triggered when the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60% chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health.

This will normally happen two or three days before weather hot enough to trigger alerts is expected to occur. This is a critical stage to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heat. During hot spells vulnerable groups, such as the older people, feel the acute effects of heat more than others and it’s long been recognised that death rates can rise in the early stages of hot weather.

Even if temperatures do not hit extreme levels, Public Health England (PHE) still advises people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.

Top advice for being sun safe:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a wide brimmed hat and light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
  • Drink lots of cool drinks and when travelling ensure you take water with you
  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially older people, infants, young children or animals

Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that face the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

Health and social care workers should regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26 degrees and ensure patients have access to cold water and ice.

Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan for England on the PHE website.

Councillor Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for health at Wigan Council, said:  “While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. The older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.

“The Heatwave Plan is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during extreme heat.

See the Heatwave Plan for England for more information or the SunSmart 'Ways to enjoy the sun safely' guide.

Posted on Monday 19th June 2017
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