Stay safe in the sun

sunshineHealth leaders are urging people across Newark and Sherwood to stay safe as the nation prepares for the one of the hottest weekends of the year. Extremely hot day time temperatures and very humid nights could be a real danger to health for anyone without the right preparation. GPs are urging people to avoid an unnecessary trip to A&E by following simple steps to stay healthy.

GP and clinical lead for NHS Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Group, Mark Jefford said: “People can enjoy the sun without putting their health at risk. Take sensible precautions including avoiding the sun at the hottest time of the day and taking on lots of water to stay well in the heat.

“Excessive alcohol consumption in the sun can also be a recipe for bad health so moderate any drinking by compensating with water. Keep young children out of the sun at the hottest part of the day and protect them with high factor sun cream if they are exposed to the sun.

“Extreme heat can also put older and frail people in danger so I would urge people to keep a closer eye on vulnerable neighbours to make sure they are well hydrated.”

There are lots of options that mean you can avoid an unnecessary trip to A&E. Remember, your local pharmacy can offer advice about common illnesses and over the counter remedies, your GP Out of Hours service can offer urgent medical care if your problem cannot wait until Monday – just call the usual GP number.

Primary Care 24 (PC24) & Urgent Care Centre is available at any time for patients with urgent health needs who do not require emergency hospital care. They will assess and treat conditions for which you would normally visit your GP. PC24 is adjacent to Kings Mill Hospital and the Urgent Care Centre is at Newark Hospital.   No appointment is necessary and waiting times vary. You can also ring NHS 111 for urgent health care needs that don’t warrant 999.

Follow these simple tips for a safe and enjoyable weekend in the sun!

Stay out of the heat

  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.

Cool yourself down

  • Have plenty of cold drinks and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.

Keep your environment cool

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselve
  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature.
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping.
  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.

Longer term

  • Consider putting up external shading outside windows.
  • Use pale, reflective external paints.
  • Have your loft and cavity walls insulated – this keeps the heat in when it is cold and out when it is hot.
  • Grow trees and leafy plants near windows to act as natural air-conditioners (see ’Making the Case’)

Look out for others

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool.
  • Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.

If you have a health problem

  • Keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.

If you or others feel unwell

  • Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature.
  • Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.
  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes.
  • Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour.
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.
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