The Met Office has issued a Level 3 heatwave alert for the West Midlands this morning (Thursday 18 July, 2013), meaning people should take action to protect themselves from the possible health effects of hot weather. Meanwhile, social and healthcare services are advised to take specific actions that target high risk groups.
The Level 3 alert is triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms there is a 90% chance of heatwave conditions, when temperatures are high enough over threshold levels to have a significant effect on health on at least 2 consecutive days.
Following today's alert, Public Health England is reminding people to be aware of the health risks of hot weather.
- try to 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
- avoid physical exertion
- wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes and drink plenty of cold drinks
- keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator
- look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, 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 spaces cool by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when safe to do so
- turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat
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.
Ros Jervis, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "In this continued hot weather, it's important to remember that high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
"During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson's disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport.
"Employers should ensure indoor areas are kept cool and consider allowing these individuals to travel to or from their place of work during cooler or less busy times of the day. And people working or exercising outdoors should make sure they keep strenuous physical exertion to a minimum during the hottest part of the day.
"The key message is to follow public health messages on how to enjoy the sun safely by staying cool, applying sun cream, wearing a hat, drinking lots of cold, non-alcoholic fluids and checking on those you know are at risk."
For more information, including advice for individuals as well as health and social care professionals and care home managers and their staff, please visit Type=links;Linkid=2151;Title=Heatwave plan for England 2013;Target=_blank;
- released: Thursday 18 July, 2013