30 June 2015 - Take care in the heat

The North West Ambulance Service is urging the public to take extra care as the Met Office forecasts soaring temperatures over the coming days.

Many people will be looking forward to enjoying the hot weather but it’s important to remember that it can be extremely dangerous and knowing how to keep cool during long periods can help save lives.

Our services are urgently needed by those who are seriously ill or have life-threatening conditions and the public can help by not calling 999 unless it is an emergency and by helping to take care of themselves and others.

Advanced Paramedic, Sam English explains: “As the warm weather is a pleasant change it can create various problems, particularly for the chronically sick, elderly, babies and young children and those who are fasting for Ramadan. The biggest risk during these hot spells is dehydration which is often characterised by lethargy, cramps, dizziness or confusion.

“Simple advice surrounds staying in the shade and keeping cool wherever possible, wearing sunscreen and a hat as well as keeping hydrated by taking regular cool drinks. This might seem straightforward but this will help prevent the incidents we see every day during the hot weather.”

Here are some top tips to stay safe throughout the summer months:

  • Drink lots of water – It is important to keep hydrated as you lose more fluid than you take in during hotter temperatures, this is also vital if you are doing any physical activity and when you are travelling long distances.
  • Keep out of the sun – It is best to try to stay in the shade between the hours of 11am to 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Wear sunscreen – Apply a sun cream of at least factor 15 that includes UVA protection.
  • Wear sunglasses – To protect your eyes make sure your sunglasses have UV protection lenses.  
  • Loose clothing – Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes along with a hat.
  • Look out for others – Keep a check on any elderly neighbours, young children and babies and those who have a heart or respiratory condition such as asthma.
  • Never leave babies, young children or animals in a parked vehicle – Temperatures can soar in a parked car very quickly, and children under the age of two are particularly at risk of getting heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Water safety – Don’t be tempted to take a dip in unsupervised reservoirs, canals, lakes and rivers to cool down, as many people get into difficulties due to hidden dangers such as deep and cold water, debris and underwater currents which can result in drowning.
  • Keep cool at night – Use lighter bedding such as cotton sheets and always remember to switch off any electric fans before falling asleep to prevent any electrical faults which could create a fire risk.
  • Call NHS 111 – If you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation call 111 in the first instance for help.

By keeping ourselves and others safe we can all enjoy the summer and ensure that those that really need our help can receive the right care in a timely manner.