The Met office has issued a level 2 (alert and readiness) heatwave warning for the period Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July.
The weather forecast for the Isle of Wight meets the heatwave threshold temperatures although in coastal areas there is a possibility of cooling winds from the sea.
The Met Office level 2 warning indicates a 60% or above probability that threshold temperatures for a heatwave will be exceeded. For South East England the threshold temperature are 31 degrees Celsius during the day for at least two consecutive days and 16 degrees Celsius in the intervening night.
Dr Jenifer Smith, Director of Public Health for the Isle of Wight says: ““Although heat waves are uncommon in England, heat can be dangerous and people should be aware of the risks. In case of a heatwave, make sure you look after your own health and that of your family. It is not just children who need special attention; be aware that elderly people are also at risk, and make sure they are being checked on regularly and everyone drinks plenty of water.”
The advice to Islanders is to:
Keep out of the heat
· If a heatwave is forecast, try and plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat.
· If you can, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm).
· If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
· 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.
· A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, or spraying or splashing your face and the back of your neck with cold water several times a day can help keep you cool.
· Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
· Reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows. External shading, e.g. shutters, is best. Metal blinds and dark curtains may absorb heat and make the room warmer – it is best to use pale curtains or reflective material.
· Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation.
· If you are worried about security, at least open windows on the first floor and above.
· Indoor and outdoor plants will help keep your home cool due to evaporation and the shading from trees and bushes.
· Take cool showers or baths.
· Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best.
· Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
· Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
Seek advice if you have any concerns
· Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS 111 if you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.
· Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping.
· If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.
Advice to organisations
Organisations across the Island, particularly those involved in healthcare, residential care and nursing home care should consider implementing the following preparatory actions:
· Ensure that cool rooms are ready and consistently at 26ºC or below;
· Check that indoor thermometers are in place and recording sheets printed to measure temperature four times a day;
· Identify naturally cooler rooms that vulnerable patients can be moved to if necessary;
· Identify particularly vulnerable individuals (those with chronic/severe illness, on multiple medications, or who are bed bound) who may be prioritised for time in a cool room;
· Obtain supplies of ice/cool water;
· Ensure that staffing levels will be sufficient to cover the anticipated heatwave period;
· Repeat messages on risk and protective measures to staff; and
· Ensure that visits or phone calls are made to advise high risk individuals (those with severe mental illness, living on their own, or without regular contact with a carer).
Agencies involved in the care of individuals at home should ensure that health and social care workers have identified those in their community who are at particularly high risk from a heatwave. Where appropriate arrange for a daily visit/phone call by a formal or informal carer (family, neighbour, friend, voluntary and community sector workers) during the heatwave period. Visits should be considered especially for those living on their own and without the contact of a daily carer.
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