The heat health alert for Kent has been ramped up, leading to advice for vulnerable residents such as the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic or severe illness who could be at extra risk.
Temperatures are likely to continue to increase this week, with an Amber Warning for Extreme Heat from Sunday (17 July) likely to continue into the early part of next week. Exceptionally high temperatures, potentially reaching mid-30 degrees Celsius, are anticipated. The cumulative effects of warm nights and very hot days are expected to bring widespread impacts to people and infrastructure.
Health experts are appealing to people to check on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. Key ‘Beat the Heat’ advice includes keeping cool, staying hydrated and being prepared – for example, staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, drinking cold drinks regularly, such as water and avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol.
People are also urged to make plans for important supplies, such as medicines, to minimise the need to travel during the heat of the day.
KCC Director for Public Health, Anjan Ghosh, said: “In extreme heat, it is vital that people think carefully about what they need to do to protect themselves, their family and particularly vulnerable people.
“For some, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. So, if you can, take the opportunity to check in on those family members, friends and neighbours who might need extra assistance.”
Key advice in hot weather includes:
- Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm. Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat. Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
- Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down.
- Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes.
- If you are travelling, make sure you take water with you, check weather forecasts and traffic news.
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
People are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt, NHS111 can help you get the right treatment.
Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at NHS Kent and Medway said: “However much we might like the sun, we know that it can have detrimental effects on your health, especially for the young, our elderly residents and those who are most vulnerable. By taking simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and finding shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill and needing the services of the NHS. Could I also ask you where appropriate to check in on your vulnerable neighbours, families and friends.
Should you become unwell, unless it’s an emergency, please remember to use 111 as your first point of contact for medical support. By phoning 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk, you will be directed to the right service for you.
You can also visit our dedicated website – www.stopthinkchoose.co.uk – which lists local services, such as pharmacies and urgent treatment centres.”
More information about what KCC is doing to protect the people of Kent is available through www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave