Published: Thursday, 22nd August 2019

As temperatures soar in Medway and the surrounding areas, residents are being encouraged to stay safe in the sun and to look after vulnerable friends and relatives.

During hot weather, we all need to take sensible precautions to avoid heat-related illness.

Those most commonly affected by high temperatures are young children, older people, pregnant women, and those with long-term medical conditions and disabilities.

Residents are urged to regularly check on vulnerable friends and family during this time, and make sure they have plenty of water and supplies, including medication.

We can all enjoy the warm weather by following these simple steps to stay safe in the heat. Our top 5 tips are:

  • keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade
  • apply sunscreen of at least SPF30 with UVA protection. (Remember to reapply after swimming.)
  • avoid extreme physical exertion – pace yourself
  • wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes

Cool yourself down

There are lots of ways to keep yourself cool in the heat, including:

  • drinking plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • eating cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with high water content
  • taking a cool shower or bath
  • sprinkling water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck

Remember: do not enter tidal waters in an attempt to cool down, for example the River Medway. This is very dangerous. Visit a local swimming pool instead.

Keep your environment cool

Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions and those who can’t look after themselves. Remember to:

  • place a thermometer in your main living space and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature.
  • keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. Open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. (Remember to close windows to keep your home secure.)
  • close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
  • turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment as they generate heat

If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping. Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.

Look out for others

Keep an eye on elderly neighbours, friends and relatives as well as young children. Make sure they are able to keep cool by:

  • ensuring that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary vehicles.
  • checking on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
  • being alert and calling a doctor if someone is unwell or further help is needed.  
  • making sure pets have access to plenty of fresh drinking water.

Further information on preventing heat related illness is available from the NHS choices website.

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