We all crave for those sunny days when we can spend time outside with family and friends. With social distancing guidelines in mind, I am sure many of us will be planning a barbecue, a picnic or just simply going for a walk in the countryside with our loved ones. It has been a long time coming and we just can’t wait! We must however be conscious of potential heatwaves where temperatures remain abnormally high for more than a couple of days, as it could prove fatal.
Who is at risk?
- Older age – especially those over 75 years old or those living on their own and are socially isolated
- Chronic and severe illness – e.g. heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or renal insufficiency, Parkinson’s disease or severe mental health
- Inability to adapt behaviour to keep cool – e.g. having Alzheimer’s, a disability, being bed bound, too much alcohol, babies and very young
- Environmental factors and over exposure – e.g. being homeless, activities/jobs in hot places or outdoors
During severe hot weather, there is risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and several other heat related illnesses such as respiratory and heart problems.
Reducing the risk before a heatwave
Heatwaves can happen very suddenly and therefore can impact vulnerable people rapidly. As an organisation, Right at Home regularly reviews Client Care & Support plans to ensure all contact details including GP and next of kin details are up to date should we need to use them. We also check whether clients need support with errands, food shopping etc to limit them having to go out in extreme heat. Our Care Givers where required support our clients in selecting appropriate clothing depending on the weather. Where fridges, freezers and other facilities are not working, we can support our clients arrange for approved engineers to fix any faulty items.
During a heatwave
- Keep hydrated – drink plenty of water and fruit juices and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine
- Keep curtains closed whilst temperatures are higher outside than inside
- Open windows if temperatures outside drop compared to inside
- Those at high risk should avoid venturing outside between 11am and 3pm as temperatures are usually the highest during this time
- Plan before you leave the home – wear a hat/thin scarf, wear light clothing and use sunscreen
- Sprinkle clothes with water regularly, take cool showers and splash water on the face and back of the neck regularly during the day
- Whilst outside, stay in the shade as much as possible
- Eat plenty of cold foods such as salads and fruits with high water content
If you require further information on how we are supporting our clients or know of someone who may require our services please call our office on 01943 603794
For further information and guidance on heatwaves, do visit the Public Health England website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england