30/06/2015 - Permalink

Dehydration and sunburn the big dangers as temperatures forecast to top 30 degrees

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People are being urged to look after each other in the hot weather, with temperatures forecast to possibly exceed 30 degrees centigrade this week.

Principal health risks include dehydration and sunburn. Older people and infants are particularly vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, while children are particularly at risk of sunburn.

Contact your GP, out-of-hours service or NHS 111 straight away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • extreme thirst
  • feeling unusually tired (lethargic) or confused
  • not passing urine for eight hours
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dizziness when you stand up that doesn’t go away after a few seconds.

Dr Peter Clowes for Shropshire Clinicial Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“While the young and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, everyone should take care and stay hydrated and avoid sunburn.

“People should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and particularly take care of older people, especially if they are less mobile and struggle to get regular drinks for themselves.

“As a precaution, it’s wise for everyone to drink additional water on hot days and remember that children and the elderly will often need prompting to do this.”

Signs of dehydration include:

  • feeling thirsty and lightheaded
  • a dry mouth
  • tiredness
  • passing urine less often than usual.

Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, and chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-being Board, added:

“Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can both be very serious if they are not treated quickly. As well as urging people to take heed of our advice, if you know of anyone who is particularly vulnerable, maybe an elderly person living on their own, please pay them a visit to check if they are OK.”

Shropshire Council and its partners are also warning residents of the dangers of swimming in watercourses and are urging for people to take care in rivers, lakes and quarries during the current spell of hot weather.

A number of incidents have taken place recently when people have got into difficulties in water – some with tragic consequences.

Professor Rod Thomson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added:

“During this hot weather it can be very tempting to take a dip in your local river or lake, but people need to be aware of the dangers that water can pose. Even if the water level looks low, swimming or playing in watercourses can be very dangerous as a number of tragic incidents around the country have unfortunately shown. It’s simply not worth the risk.”

Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease. Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/summerhealth, NHS 111 or from your local pharmacy.

For more information on staying healthy and well this summer, visit Shropshire Council’s Get Ready for Summer page at shropshire.gov.uk/summer-advice.