The heat health alert for Kent has been ramped up, leading to advice for vulnerable residents such as the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic or severe illness who could be at extra risk.
The level three warning means high temperatures have been reached and the sustained hot weather could lead to an increase in health problems so swift action is required immediately to protect people from potential harmful effects.
The Met Office warning states that there is a 90% probability of severe heat or heatwave in Kent from 12:00 on Tuesday (9 August) until at least 18:00 on Saturday (13 August). Temperatures on Tuesday are expected to reach at least 31 degrees Celsius, and to build day on day for the rest of the week. There is a chance that the warm weather may also last beyond Saturday.
Health experts are appealing to people to check on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. Key ‘Beat the Heat’ advice includes keeping cool, staying hydrated and being prepared – for example, staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, drinking cold drinks regularly, such as water and avoiding tea, coffee and alcohol.
KCC Assistant Director of Public Health, Jess Mookherjee, said: “We have already experienced some very hot weather this summer and the advice remains the same. We are encouraging Kent’s residents to enjoy the heat safely and to remember that high temperatures can also pose serious health risks, especially for young children, older people or those with certain health conditions. If you know someone who may be at additional risk or need some extra help in the heat, check in on them if you can. We know that the first two days of very hot weather can pose particular danger to vulnerable people, as they may be less prepared for the heat. Remember to take the usual precautions yourself too; drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, UV glasses and loose, comfortable clothing. Try not to travel in the heat of the day if possible and plan travel in advance, with plenty of time for comfort breaks.”
Key advice in hot weather includes:
- Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm. Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat. Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
- Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down.
- Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes.
- If you are travelling, make sure you take water with you, check weather forecasts and traffic news.
- Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
People are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt, NHS111 can help you get the right treatment.
Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at NHS Kent and Medway said: “However much we might like the sun, we know that it can have detrimental effects on your health, especially for the young, our elderly residents and those who are most vulnerable. By taking simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and finding shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill and needing the services of the NHS. Could I also ask you where appropriate to check in on your vulnerable neighbours, families and friends.
Should you become unwell, unless it’s an emergency, please remember to use 111 as your first point of contact for medical support. By phoning 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk, you will be directed to the right service for you.
You can also visit our dedicated website – www.stopthinkchoose.co.uk – which lists local services, such as pharmacies and urgent treatment centres.”
The NHS website – www.nhs.uk – continues to provide reliable advice and guidance throughout
the year on how to keep fit and well. It includes information on how to stay well in hot weather www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather
More information about what KCC is doing to protect the people of Kent is available through www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave