Looking after yourself and others during hot weather

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					Looking after yourself and
others during hot weather

                             July 2005


The Department of Health has issued
guidance about what to do in a heatwave.

Enfield Primary Care Trust along with Council
and Voluntary partners has a plan in place to
ensure the most vulnerable people are
helped.This leaflet gives you advice on looking
after yourself during hot weather.

    Most of us enjoy sunny weather, but extreme                     Heatstroke
    heat can seriously damage your health. During                   Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated, but
    a heatwave, when temperatures stay really high                  it can also occur suddenly and without warning.
    day after day, it can sometimes be fatal.                       Symptoms include headaches, nausea, an intense thirst,
                                                                    sleepiness, hot, red and dry skin, a sudden rise in temperature,
    What are the risks?
                                                                    confusion, aggression, convulsions and loss of consciousness.
    In a severe heatwave you may get dehydrated and your body
    may overheat, leading to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Both
                                                                    Heatstroke can result in irreversible damage to your body,
    need urgent treatment.
                                                                    including the brain, or death.
    Heat exhaustion
                                                                    Who is at risk?
    The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness,
                                                                    The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk
    nausea and vomiting, muscle, weakness or cramps, pale skin,
                                                                    of serious harm.These include:
    and a high temperature.
                                                                    ✹ Older people
    You should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water        ✹ Babies and young children
    or fruit juice. If you can, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge   ✹ People with mental health problems
    yourself down with cold water.
                                                                    ✹ People on certain medication
                                                                    ✹ People with a serious chronic condition, particularly
                                                                       breathing or heart problems
                                                                    ✹ People who already have a high temperature from an
                                                                    ✹ People who use alcohol or illicit drugs
                                                                    ✹ People with mobility problems
                                                                    ✹ People who are physically active, like manual workers,
                                                                       and sportsmen and women.

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    What should you do?                                                  Stay cool
    Mostly it's a matter of common sense. Listen to your local           ✹ Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much
    weather forecast so you know if a heatwave is on the way.              as possible.
    Plan ahead to reduce the risk of getting heat exhaustion or          ✹ Close the curtains in rooms that get a lot of sun.
                                                                         ✹ Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is
    Keep out of the heat                                                   outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and
    ✹ If a heatwave is forecast, try and plan your day in a way that       at night for ventilation. If you are worried about security, at
      allows you to stay out of the heat.                                  least open windows on the first floor and above.
    ✹ If you can, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day         ✹ Take cool showers or baths, and splash yourself several
      (11am-3pm).                                                          times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the
                                                                           back of your neck.
    ✹ If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY,
      or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early      ✹ Eat as you normally would.Try to eat more cold food,
      morning.                                                             particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
    ✹ If you must go out, stay in the shade.Wear a hat and light,
      loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton. If you will be outside
      for some time, take plenty of water with you.

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    Seek advice if you have any concerns                            Helping others
    ✹ Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS Direct if you are    If anyone you know is likely to be at risk during a heatwave,
      worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if    help them get the advice and support they need. Older people
      you are taking medication, or have any unusual symptoms.      living on their own should be visited daily to check they are
    ✹ Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of    OK.
      mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping.
                                                                    While waiting for the ambulance
    ✹ If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep      ✹ If possible, move the person somewhere cooler.
      cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if
      they get worse or don’t go away.                              ✹ Increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan.
                                                                    ✹ Cool them down as quickly as possibly by loosening their
                                                                      clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them
                                                                      in a damp sheet.
                                                                    ✹ If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink.
                                                                    ✹ Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol.

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    Further information
    ✹ Check the weather forecast and any high temperature
      health warnings at
                                                                   Get the
    ✹ Contact NHS Direct on       0845 4647 or NHS Direct
      Online at for advice about heat         right treatment
      exhaustion and heatstroke.
    ✹ You can get advice on protecting your skin during hot        By making the right choice at the right time, you can get the
      weather from the Cancer Research UK SunSmart campaign        best possible treatment through the NHS. Many everyday
      website at                illnesses can be managed easily at home, while advice is freely
                                                                   available from pharmacists or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
    ✹ If you remain concerned for yourself or another vulnerable
      person contact your GP, District Nurse or Social Worker.
                                                                   s Self Care - be prepared, maintain a well-stocked medicine
    Useful contact details                                           cabinet to treat yourself at home
                                                                   s Pharmacists - free professional advice on many ailments
    Adult Social Services                                            and conditions
    To contact Adult Social Services, please call the Customer     s NHS Direct - 24-hour help, advice and information
    Services Centre on:                                              (call 0845 4647) or NHS Direct online-advice and
                                                                     information on the Internet (
                020 8379 1000
                                                                   s NHS walk-in Centre - advice,information and care from
    Fax         020 8379 6458                                        nurses, with no appointment needed, at North Middlesex
    Textphone 020 8379 6551                                          University Hospital, Edmonton
                                                                   s GP surgery - general medical advice and treatments.
    If you need to contact Adult Social Services in an emergency     For Out of Hours service contact your GP and follow
    outside office hours, please contact the Out-of-Hours Duty       instructions
    Social Worker on      020 8379 1000.                           s Accident and Emergency departments - for emergencies or
                                                                     life-threatening conditions, at Barnet and Chase Farm
                                                                     Hospitals, North Middlesex University Hospital
    Home Support Network                                           s 999 - to call an ambulance for emergencies or life-
            020 8351 1322                                            threatening conditions.
    Fax     020 8884 4167

  To get a copy of this in your language, please tick one box                  ,
  write your name and address and send this to the address

  Please return to: Communications Officer for Social Services,
  Enfield Council, P.O. Box 59, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield EN1 3XL
Leaflet Ref. Heatwave July 2005

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