Stay safe and beat the heat

Stay safe and beat the heat

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Stay Safe and Beat the Heat

Although most of us welcome the summer sun, high temperatures can be harmful to our health. The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm.

There are lots of ways to make sure you are protected but it’s important to look out for the people who are most vulnerable. The health of the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses can be seriously affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and sunburn.

Everyone can keep cool by wearing loose cotton clothes, spraying or splashing faces and the backs of necks with cold water several times a day, staying in the coolest rooms of the house as much as possible and drinking lots of cold drinks.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, and reduce heat by keeping windows closed when rooms are cooler than the outside temperature. Windows should be opened at night when the temperature has dropped outside.

It is best to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, particularly between 11am and 3pm. If you are exposed to the sun wear a sun hat, apply sun cream throughout the day and avoid strenuous activity such as running, lifting and carrying. It is also important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with sun lotion, after-sun and rehydration sachets just in case you have spent too much time in the sun.

Babies and young children should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible, given plenty of water to drink, and placed in the shade or preferably a cool room indoors. Young skin is also much more at risk of burning so sunhats and a high factor sunscreen should be used to protect children’s delicate skin.

Naturally, people want to make the most of sunny weather, but it’s important that we all stay safe in the sun. By being careful we can easily avoid the risks of sunburn and heatstroke and potential long-term consequences of over-exposure, such as skin cancer. Statistics show that poor sunbathing habits are resulting in rising levels of malignant melanoma, which is one of the least common but the most serious type of skin cancer.

If you have any health concerns for yourself or for someone you know, please contact your GP or pharmacist. You can get more information on staying safe this summer on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk