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Stay safe in the sun

By 11th July 2022No Comments

Health leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are urging people to stay safe in the sun as the extreme hot weather continues into this week.

High temperatures and an increase in UV levels can be dangerous, especially for the very young or old or those with long-term illnesses.

Here are three top tips to help protect you, your family and your friends:

  • Keep a close eye on older people, young children, and those with diseases such as heart and lung conditions – their bodies can struggle to cope in the heat, and they are at greater risk. Check in by phone if you can’t visit in person.
  • Stay hydrated and keep cool indoors. Close the curtains on any windows which face the sun, open windows when its cooler outside than in (when it is safe to do so) and turn off any unnecessary electrical items.
  • Check weather forecasts, including UV forecasts, and if spending time outdoors remember to travel with bottled water and protect yourself from the sun during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am – 3pm. You can follow weather updates through the Met Office Twitter

Local GP and clinical lead for urgent care at the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, Lesley Ward, said: “There are many benefits of getting out and about in the fresh air, especially on a lovely sunny day, but during the current conditions it’s important to take extra precautions.

“If you do need to go out during the hottest hours make sure you use sunscreen and cover yourself up from the sun.  Conditions like sunburn and heatstroke are preventable. The heatwave should act as a timely reminder to get ‘sun safe’, applying over 30 factor sun cream, avoiding excessive alcohol, keeping cool and taking it easy.

“Also it’s important we look out for others. Older adults, young children and people with heart and lung conditions can struggle in the heat so check that relatives and neighbours are OK.

“With the summer holidays fast approaching it’s also a good time to make sure you have what you need for summer health and wellbeing. If you have repeat medication, make sure you order repeat prescriptions in good time so that you don’t run out on holiday. Also check that you have basic medication like antihistamines and painkillers in your holiday first aid kit – talk to your pharmacist for advice.”

Top tips to stay well during hot weather

  • stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler
  • if going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately, keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling
  • if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice

See the NHS heatwave page for more advice on how to cope during hot weather and who is the most vulnerable. For advice on dealing with heatstroke, see the NHS heatstroke page.