Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council, is urging residents to look out for the most vulnerable in our communities as temperatures look set to soar this week.
“Somerset is a great place to be whatever the weather, and when the sun shines everyone is more likely to be enjoying the great outdoors.”
“However, for some people, especially older people and those with existing health conditions, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That is why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you are able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.”
“It’s vital we all follow the advice and adapt what we do when needed, so we don’t put our local NHS services under any more pressure. 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.”
The main risks during hot weather are:
- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- Heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Who is Vulnerable?
While everybody is at risk from the health consequences of heat, there are certain factors that increase an individual’s risk during a heatwave. These include:
- Older age: especially those over 75 years old, or those living on their own and who are socially isolated, or those living in a care home
- Chronic and severe illness: including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, renal insufficiency, Parkinson’s disease or severe mental illness
- Inability to adapt behaviour to keep cool: babies and the very young, having a disability, being bed bound, having Alzheimer’s disease
- Environmental factors and overexposure: living in a top floor flat, being homeless, activities or jobs that are in hot places or outdoors and include high levels of physical exertion