16th July 2021
Phew: what a scorcher – things you can do to stay cool and healthy during hot weather
With temperatures in the West Midlands forecast to hit 28°C this weekend, public health chiefs in Sandwell have issued advice to help people keep cool during the hot weather.
Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Living and Ageing Well, said: “While most of us will be enjoying the summer sun and warm weather, we want to remind everyone that it’s important to stay cool and healthy.
“If it’s too hot it can cause health risks and be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old and people with chronic illnesses.
“We would also encourage people to look out for any neighbours who are older or have illnesses, to make sure they are okay and are keeping cool.
“If someone is unwell or needs help, they should seek medical help.”
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “After a cold and wet start to the year, many of us are looking forward to the prospect of hot summer days. But we should not forget that high temperatures – like those forecast for this weekend – can be uncomfortable for some, and dangerous for those in at-risk groups. These include older people, the very young, and people with pre-existing conditions.
“I would ask all Sandwell residents to follow actions to protect themselves and others, such as staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, to keep hydrated, and to look out for those at risk. And please, call NHS 111 for help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.”
Go to www.nhs.uk/heatwave for more information.
Stay out of the heat:
● 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 and light scarf
● Avoid extreme physical exertion
● Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
Cool yourself down:
● Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
● Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
● Take a cool shower, bath or body wash
● Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
Keep your environment cool:
● Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with chronic health conditions or who can’t look after themselves
● Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
● Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
● Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun, however, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space
● Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
● Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
● If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
● Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.
Look out for others:
● Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool
● Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars
● Check on older or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
● Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed
If you have a health problem:
● Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
● Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.
If you or others feel unwell:
● Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
● Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
● Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes
● Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
● Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.
Sandwell has lots of open water including lakes, pools, ponds, canals and rivers, which can be particularly inviting during periods of warm weather, and people are often tempted to swim in them. But we urge people, particularly children and teenagers, not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools. More advice is available at www.sandwell.gov.uk/watersafety
Free swimming is available for Sandwell children aged 16 and under at Sandwell leisure centres during school holidays, Older people aged 60 and over living in Sandwell can also swim for free before 1pm all year round at Sandwell Leisure Trust sites. Go to our free swimming webpage www.sandwell.gov.uk/freeswimming for more information on how to register.
Advice about pets
Ensure pets have access to shade and fresh drinking water, and never leave animals in hot cars, conservatories or caravans. Don’t walk your dog in high temperatures if the pavement is too hot to stand on in bare feet or to put your hand on.