Stay Hydrated This Summer
We all look forward to a good summer. However there are occasions when very high temperatures and humidity can present a risk to health, Children and older people can be particularly susceptible to heat-related illness.
Older people, their families, friends and neighbours across Kensinsington & Chelsea are encouraged to think about staying hydrated this summer. Individuals have a moral duty to support vulnerable people who may be at risk, in any way they can.
As the weather starts to get warmer and the sun starts to come out, Bluebird Care KC is sending out the strong message that heat and sun exposure is extremely serious and potentially life threatening – and is urging people across the area to stay hydrated and prepare for the hotter days with some simple tips to stay safe in the sun.
Due to the soaring temperatures in July 2017 there were 1,661 deaths recorded in England & Wales, compared with a five year average of 1,267 (ONS, 2017). This highlights the danger of high temperatures and the importance of being prepared. Staying hydrated is essential particularly for those in high risk groups, such as babies, children and older people. Government recommendations suggest everyone should have around 6-8 glasses a day, which can be water or sugar-free drinks (NHS Eatwell Guide, 2017).
It's important to be aware of friends and neighbours during a heatwave and to let people know if you are on your own and have any concerns. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated.
Top tips for staying cool:
- Keep out of the heat.
- Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
- If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
- Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
- When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
- Take cool baths or showers.
- Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
- Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
- Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.
Dehydration and overheating
Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.
If you have any of these symptoms you must:
- find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
- drink plenty of water or fruit juice
- sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.
So if you or someone else shows symptoms:
- call 999 immediately,
- If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
- while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.
If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.
- If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
- If a heat wave is on its way or the weather is hot for several days, listen to local radio so that you know the latest local advice. Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at opens link in new window www.metoffice.gov.uk
- If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
For further advice about heat-related illness visit the link below: