Public urged to stay safe in the heat and use NHS services wisely

People are being urged to stay safe and look out for each other in the heat.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat in the South West region and Public Health England has extended its heat-health alert until this Friday. The warnings reflect the continued high temperatures, which are expected to remain high during the day and night.

It is estimated there were around 2,500 heatwave related deaths last year in England, and thousands more people are treated by the NHS for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Residents are also being asked to use the appropriate NHS service for their needs. Services remain very busy and the NHS is calling for public support to ensure they remain available for those who need them most. 

Dr Jonathan Hayes

Dr Jonathan Hayes, a GP at Hanham Health and Clinical Lead for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said today: “Many of us enjoy the hotter weather, but when it’s hot for longer periods it can be very risky for our health. For the most vulnerable, such as very young children, older people or those who have a long-term illness, the summer heat can be extremely dangerous.  We would urge everyone to look in on vulnerable friends and family during this time.

“Heat stroke is usually preventable and you can help your family stay well by keeping cool and staying hydrated, avoiding excess alcohol, and staying indoors or in the shade during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. This advice is especially important this year for people unwell with COVID-19 who are managing symptoms at home.”

The NHS is also requesting residents use the right services for their needs and self-care or see a pharmacist for everyday medical conditions. Dr Hayes said: “NHS services are very busy at the moment, and you can also help us ensure they remain available for the people who need them most. Talk to your pharmacist about over-the-counter medication for conditions such as sunburn, hay fever and summer colds. If you think you need help right away or you aren’t sure where to go, contact NHS 111 first, by phone or online.”

The NHS website has more information about how to cope in hot weather. 

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