Heatwave alert issued - think about how it will affect you
A Level 3 heatwave alert has been issued for Oxfordshire – meaning the hot weather now poses a health risk to vulnerable groups.
The Public Health alert was triggered after the Met Office confirmed threshold temperatures that can have a significant effect on health have been reached.
A heatwave alert means people should be aware of the actions to protect themselves from the possible health effects of hot weather, and social and healthcare services are advised to take specific actions that target high-risk groups.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team has offered the following advice:
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
- wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat and light scarf. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn.
- avoid physical exertion
- drink plenty of cold drinks
- if you have a health problem, keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator
- look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when safe to do so. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.
Health and social care workers in the community, hospitals and care homes are advised to regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26°C, ensure patients have access to cold water and ice and that medicines are stored in a cool place.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health Cllr Lawrie Stratford said: “While hot weather is enjoyable for most people and uncomfortable for some, sadly experience tells us that exposure to excessive heat can kill, with most cases of illness and death caused by heart and lung disease. Because we are not used to these very hot temperatures in England, local plans are in place to reduce the impact of harm from very hot weather.”