The NHS in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex is urging people to take extra care after the Met Office predicted a 60% chance of a heatwave until Friday (August 26).
Forecasters are predicting temperatures will reach as high as 30degC which, without adequate protection, could cause sunburn and heatstroke.
Chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma and hayfever, are often made worse by the heat and high pollen count. But sufferers can help prevent their conditions from worsening by stocking up on medication from local pharmacies or their local GP if necessary.
Dr Simon Dean, CCG Clinical Director and Horsham GP, said: “Please make sure you are prepared for the hot weather and in particular, that you look out for vulnerable or elderly neighbours, friends and family.
“Our local pharmacists are highly trained healthcare experts and can dispense good advice as well as prevention remedies and treatments for many conditions worsened by hot weather.”
You can reduce your risk of sunburn by following the advice below:
Avoid exposure to sunlight when the sun is strongest 11am-3pm – stay in the shade as much as possible, cover up with loose clothing and a hat, and use sunscreen.
Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun, choose one that has a high sun protection factor (SPF) – sunscreen with an SPF of 50 offers the best level of protection.
Babies less than six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight
The symptoms of heatstroke can develop over several days in vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with long-term health problems. Symptoms can develop more quickly when associated with physical activity; this type of heatstroke usually affects young, active people.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
high temperature – a temperature of 40degC (104degF) or above is one of the main signs of heatstroke (although it can be diagnosed at lower temperatures)
heavy sweating that suddenly stops – if the body can’t produce any more sweat, the skin will become dry which is a major warning sign that the body has become over-heated and dehydrated
a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance if you think that you or someone you know has heatstroke.
Tips for coping in hot weather:
Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
Have cool baths or showers.
Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
If you become unwell over the bank holiday there is an Urgent Care Centre at Crawley Hospital open 24 hours, seven days a week, no appointment is necessary and you will be seen by a doctor or nurse.
Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead has a Minor Injuries Unit open 8am-7.30pm daily run by emergency nurse/care practitioners who are able to see, diagnose and treat a wide range of minor injuries and ailments for both adults and children over one year old.
There is also a Minor Injuries Unit at Horsham Hospital open 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (closed bank holiday Monday).
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