Lincolnshire residents are being advised to remain careful in the heat despite rain and cloud cover this weekend, as the county council issues its top six sun tips for keeping children and the elderly safe.
Temperatures are expected to remain high over the weekend with the council’s Public Health team highlighting that significant UV rays can still penetrate clouds and can also get through wet clothing more than dry.
Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive member for public health said: “Please take extra care of children and elderly people in the hot weather as they are more vulnerable to suffering the effects of the heat. We wouldn’t want to stop anybody enjoying the sun, so please have fun and look after one another by following our top tips.”
Derek Ward, Director of Public Health at Lincolnshire County Council said: “We want everybody to enjoy the fine weather but to avoid your fun in the sun being spoiled, be aware of our top tips, they’re really simple, drink water, wear a hat and look after those at most risk.”
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
In a severe heatwave you may get dehydrated and your body may overheat, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Keeping yourself cool will reduce the risk of illness.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
nausea and vomiting
muscle weakness or cramps
If you experience any of these symptoms you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If you can, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge yourself down with cold water. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning. It can be serious, resulting in irreversible damage to the body, including the brain and in extreme cases death. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you feel unwell.
Who is at risk?
The heat can affect anyone, so even if you are fully fit, it’s important to take precautions to stay cool during hot weather. Some groups are more at risk of serious harm due to the heat, including children and babies, older people and those with ongoing physical or mental health conditions. Mostly it’s a matter of common sense.
Here’s top tips for sun safety and staying healthy in the heat..
How to stay safe outside
Avoid going out between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest
Make sure the sunscreen you are using is SPF15 or higher. Check the ‘use by’ date: the active ingredient may have deteriorated if sunscreen is out of date or has been left in direct sunlight.
Wear UV wraparound sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to your eyes
Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening. If you can’t avoid it keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton.
Take care when you’re outside with children. Metal play equipment can get very hot in the sun and even cause burns.
How to keep you and your home cool
Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
Close curtains on windows that let a lot of sun into your home. However, metal blinds and dark curtains can absorb heat so a lighter material will be best for keeping the room cool.
Keep windows that are exposed to daytime sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. Be aware of security issues of open windows, especially in ground floor rooms.
A thermometer in your main living room and bedroom will help you keep a check on the temperature
A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, or spraying or splashing your face and the back of your neck with cold water several times a day can help keep you cool, so can a lukewarm shower.
How best to take on fluids
Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty - water or fruit juice are best
If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you
Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
Keep an eye on isolated, ill or older people, as well as babies and young children.
Check on older people and sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
Help older people and people with long-term health conditions to keep their living space cool, follow the tips above
Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell and needs further help
Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars
Advice for parents and carers of children and babies
Make sure babies, especially under six months, stay out of direct sunlight at peak times and remain hydrated by giving them water to drink as well as milk
Remember Slip, Slap Slop, Seek, Slide: Slip on loose cotton clothing to cover skin; Slap on a hat; Slop on SPF15 sunscreen or higher; Seek shade and slide on sunglasses
Wet clothes let through more UV light than dry clothes, so have fun if playing in pools but have some spare clothes on hand
Advice for carers of older people
Check more regularly on vulnerable people and monitor the temperature in the room, keeping it below 26°C
Be aware that plastic pads and mattresses can be particularly hot during a heatwave
Advise the person you care for to avoid caffeine, very sweet drinks and alcohol as they make dehydration worse. Ensure they drink plenty of cold water and that ice is available
Store medicines in a cool place
Turn off unnecessary lights and equipment that may generate additional heat
Be aware that some conditions may be exacerbated during high temperatures and some medications can also increase risk in susceptible individuals. Seek medical advice if you have any concerns.
Who to contact for advice
Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or call 111 if you are worried about your health or the health of someone else during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.
If you have symptoms of heat exhaustion, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away
If symptoms are severe or someone you are with has collapsed call 999.
For information about keeping safe in the sun please visit the NHS website