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Level 3 warning issued as heatwave continues

People are being urged to take extra care as be prepared as the heatwave continues - with the Met Office today issuing a second Level 3 alert for the West Midlands within a week.

Forecasters say temperatures are likely to increase a notch or two over the next day or so - with daytime highs in the high 20s degrees Celsius in many places by the weekend, and with the air starting to feel a bit more humid too. 

Residents should familiarise themselves with the actions they need to take to protect themselves and their families from the possible health effects of hot weather, while social care and health services should also take specific actions to help people from high risk groups.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "While hot weather is enjoyable for most people, exposure to excessive can be dangerous, especially for people who may be vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

"Because we are not used to these very hot temperatures in England, it's important that people do all they can to reduce the impact of harm from the heatwave we are currently experiencing."

Public Health England is reminding people to be aware of the health risks of hot weather. Top tips to stay safe include:

  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
     
  • wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade and apply sunscreen of at least sun protection factor 15 with UVA protection
     
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes, and a hat and light scarf which will minimise the risk of sunburn
     
  • avoid physical exertion
     
  • drink plenty of cold drinks
     
  • keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator
     
  • look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
     
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
     
  • keep bedroom and living space cool by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening windows at cooler times of the day and overnight. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat

Meanwhile, health and social care workers in the community, hospitals and care homes are advised to regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26°c, ensure patients have access to cold water and ice and that medicines are stored in a cool place.

Councillor Malcolm added: "Please follow public health messages on how to enjoy the sun safely by staying cool and drinking lots of cold water, and please check on those you know who may be at greater risk during this hot spell."

Dr Thomas Waite of Public Health England added: "We know that when weather like this hits, many people will head outdoors and make the most of the sunshine - but for others, temperatures like these, over more than a day or two, can be really uncomfortable and pose a significant risk to health.

"This is because their bodies may struggle to adapt to working harder, as all our bodies do when the weather gets this hot, and they can become ill.

"It's vitally important that we keep an eye on friends, family and neighbours who may be at risk, and chances are we'll all know someone if we're all going to stay well this summer.

"For others, the best thing to do is avoid the sun during the hottest parts of the day, carry water with you when travelling and if going out to large events, and we know lots of people will be watching football this week, think what you can do stay cool. It's also worth remembering to think about keeping homes cool as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat of the day."

For more information about the dangers posed by UV radiation, please visit Public Health Matters.

  • released: Thursday 5 July, 2018