South Tyneside residents have been given health advice to cope with an 'imminent' heatwave.
A Met Office warning of an imminent heatwave has been issued after the organisation forecast a 60% chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night, to have a significant effect on health.
This will normally happen two or three days before a heatwave is expected to occur, which the Met Office says is critical stage to ensure readiness and swift action to reduce harm from a potential heatwave.
During hot spells vulnerable groups, including the alderly, feel the acute effects of heat more than others and it has long been recognised that death rates rise in the early stages of heatwaves.
Even if temperatures do not hit extreme levels South Tyneside Council is supporting advice by Public Health England (PHE) reminding local people to people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.
Top advice for being sun safe include:
· Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm.
· Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat and light scarf. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn.
· Drink lots of cool drinks, and, when travelling, ensure you take water with you
· Look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
· Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially older people, infants, young children or animals.
People are also reminded that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too.
To keep bedrooms and living spaces cool, close the curtains on windows that face the sun and open windows at cooler times of the day, and overnight, if possible.
Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items, as these generate heat.
Health and social care workers should regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26 degrees and ensure patients have access to cold water and ice.
Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan for England on the PHE website.
Coun Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: “While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. The older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.
“The Heatwave Plan is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during extreme heat.
“To prepare for any type of hot weather this summer, we strongly encourage each locality to consider the actions in this plan and adapt them to their local situation, as a component of wider resilience planning and long-term climate change adaptation arrangements.”
See the Heatwave Plan for England at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england