With the predicted warm weather this week, the National Ambulance Service (NAS) is reminding the public that simple steps can be taken to avoid suffering in the sun.
The most vulnerable in hot weather are the very young, older people or those with existing chronic or long-term medical conditions. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse and of course cause sunburn. In extreme cases, excess heat can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Our staff can be very busy at this time of the year, attending calls from people who might have overdone it in the heat. The warmer weather is something we all take advantage of, and by following just a few simple precautions, people can enjoy the sun safely. People should ensure they have enough medication, and take the necessary precautions to prevent the effects of heat exposure.
We are asking the public to call for an ambulance in life threatening emergencies only. If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, stroke or they are unconscious, please call 999 or 112 immediately. If you have a toothache or a football injury you have had for several weeks, please use other care pathways to receive treatment. The effects of the hot weather include dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following simple tips which everyone can follow to ensure they make the best of the weather:
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
- Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
- Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at www.met.ie
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
- Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.
- Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
- Wear plenty of high-factor sun cream and don’t forget to top up regularly, and replenish after swimming.
- Use insect repellent if you are prone to bites
- If planning a barbecue, take all the usual precautions, ensure food is cooked thoroughly and protect yourself and others from flames. Never try to ignite a barbecue with an accelerant.
- Never jump into unsupervised lakes, rivers and weirs to cool down. The risk is too high and could quite easily end in a tragedy.
Anyone can be affected but those most vulnerable include;
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
- people with mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
- people with serious mental health problems
- people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports
Have a safe week by following this simple advice.