How to handle a heatwave – keeping safe and cool as the mercury rises

It is unlikely to have escaped your attention that, apart from the race for Number 10, the imminent heatwave that the UK is about to experience is trending across all media outlets. With amber weather warnings being issued by the Met Office  and the potential that these could even rise to red, many forecast that the UK could experience its hottest day ever, early next week. The headlines can appear scary, but there is sound advice offered by the NHS, to make navigating the sizzling weather a more bearable experience, for both you and your loved ones.

The NHS flags up at the outset, those who are most vulnerable as the temperature rises. The list includes those over 75, those with heart or respiratory conditions, babies and young children and those whose prescription medication is affected by hot weather, (something you can check with your local GP or pharmacist ).

Look out for the over 75s

Symptoms which indicate you may have had too much sun, include dizziness, feeling faint, shortness of breath and confusion. However, it is not all doom and gloom, by following a few simple rules any danger or emergency can be easily averted.Although closing doors and windows may seem counter-intuitive, it is a vital way to maintain cooler temperatures in your house than outdoors. Closing curtains can also stop extra heat from entering a room, which may also seem strange during a sunny day, but anyone who has travelled to the Mediterranean will be familiar with the protocol of closing shutters and retreating inside in the scorching heat. It works and it makes sense.

Drink, drink and drink again

While you are ensconced in your home during a heatwave, DO NOT forget to continually imbibe cold drinks, although avoid anything with alcohol or caffeine. Cold showers or baths, or even a cold flannel which can be placed on the forehead or back of the neck can be very effective. Of course, fans can also be a very useful way to dilute the intensity of the heat indoors.

In conclusion, check in on anyone who you think might be vulnerable during the approaching heatwave and above all use simple common sense. Stay inside, where possible, drink lots and be reassured this too will pass.

For more ideas for how to keep children hydrated, please see here (these tasty ideas work well for adults too!)

Stop Press

WEST Berkshire Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in light of the current heatwave. Extra support will be available to rough sleepers at the council’s offices on Market Street, between 10am and 2pm.

Homeless people will be able to access shelter, cold drinks and a shower at Two Saints Hostel on Newtown Road in Newbury between 11am and 3pm.

Rough sleepers in the district can access emergency accommodation and support during periods of extreme weather through the (SWEP), which offers emergency accommodation and support for rough sleepers. If you see someone who needs help please contact housing@westberks.gov.uk or call Streetlink on 0300 5000194.

Click here for full NHS advice

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