Red Cross advice for safety as temperatures expected to soar

With the mercury set to soar across the UK this week, the British Red Cross has issued advice for staying safe during a heatwave.

James Reed, who trains people in first aid for the British Red Cross, said: “After many weeks of staying home, we know many of those who can will want to soak up the sun at parks, beaches and other outdoor spots, or even in their own gardens.

“During this hot spell, it’s important to remember some simple ways to stay safe and well. Evidence shows that the number of people visiting their GP for heat-related illness can double during a heatwave. Many heat-related illnesses occur because someone has been in the sun too long or hasn’t had enough to drink. Avoid spending time in the sun at the hottest time of the day (between 11am and 3pm), and if you do go out, wear light, loose-fitting clothes, use sunscreen and make sure to drink plenty of water. Even just wearing a hat can make a real difference. For those who still need to stay home because they are shielding or self-isolating, it’s important to keep your home cool. A few simple steps like opening windows at night, when temperatures have dropped, and drawing curtains during the day, can reduce the risk of your home over-heatinge.”

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Heat exhaustion, causing dizziness, nausea and sweating, occurs when someone loses too much fluid and salt from sweating in hot conditions. Small children and the elderly are most at risk. If someone displays symptoms, help them to a cool shaded place, get them to rest, and ensure they drink plenty of water.

Isotonic sports drinks (but not energy drinks) are even better as they will also help replace the salts lost through sweating.

Even if the person appears to recover fully, they should seek medical advice. If their condition gets worse, call 999 for emergency help.

Heatstroke happens when someone gets so hot that their body becomes dangerously overheated and can’t control their temperature. It can be caused by hot weather, or a fever and the person needs help straight away.

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A person with heatstroke may: have hot, flushed and dry skin; have a headache, feel dizzy or be confused and restless; get worse quickly and become unresponsive. You should call 999 immediately or get someone else to do it.

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