Health leaders urge people to look after themselves and each other during the extreme temperatures

Thermometer showing high temperatures
Public Health Dorset and the local NHS are urging everyone to take extra care during the current heatwave.

Across the country high temperatures have been forecast this weekend, with a Level 4 heat-health alert in place in all South West regions. Hot weather is enjoyed by many and can be a great opportunity to get outside, visit the beach or sit out late into the evening relaxing. However, there can be serious health consequences from too much exposure to heat. It is important to take extra care of yourself and look out for others who may be vulnerable during hot spells.  

Rachel Partridge, Deputy Director of Public Health for Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, said: “Warmer weather can be a wonderful thing to enjoy together in our county, but in extreme conditions, the summer heat can bring real health risks. We need to look out for everyone, the very young, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. These groups are particularly vulnerable to effects of heat, however in the forecast extreme temperatures everyone needs to take care.  

“If you are able, ask your friends, family, or neighbours if they need any support and keep an eye on members of your household to ensure they can keep cool and hydrated. During the hottest periods find the coolest part of your home, garden, or a shady spot in local green space to sit in." 

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to: 

  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. 
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, vulnerable adults, or animals. 
  • If you must go outside in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Seek cool spaces. 
  • Avoid physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. 
  • Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling. 
  • During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool-down, take care and follow local safety advice. 
  • If you have concerns about your child’s health visit for help and advice. 
    Who's at risk? 
    Anyone can be affected by prolonged spells of hot weather. Some groups are more vulnerable than others, but this extreme weather can affect anyone. Look out for:  
  • Anyone who appears to be struggling in the temperatures, no matter their age or personal circumstances.
  • Those who may find it hard to keep cool – for example babies and very young children.
  • Older people, especially if aged 75 or over.
  • Those who live on their own.
  • People who have a serious or long term illness.
  • People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside.

Keep up to date with the latest weather, including UV forecasts. Even if there is cloud cover, UV levels and temperatures can remain high. If you are out and about, or spending time outdoors, take bottled water, and protect yourself from the sun during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am – 3pm. 

Dr Paul Johnson, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Dorset, said “When the hot weather arrives, it can sometimes be all too easy to forget that whilst most people enjoy it, the heat and sun can also bring health risks.  

“We are asking everyone in Dorset to reduce their risk of becoming ill because of the heat by following our top tips to stay safe, not least to cover up, take on plenty of fluids and think of those, such as young children or older people who may feel the effects of the heat more than others. 

“If you do need medical help, please don’t turn up unannounced at an Emergency Department or Minor Injuries Unit, which are likely be very busy over the weekend. Please visit 111 online or call 111 in the first instance. You will be assessed and directed to the support you need.” 

Published on:
15/07/2022, 11:00