Taking the heat out of summer

Bradford’s clinical leaders are reminding people to take care in the sun as the weather heats up.

Sun 1The elderly, those with chronic illnesses, young children and babies can be at risk of being affected by the hot temperatures, so it is important to make sure that they are well protected by staying in the shade, using sun cream and drinking plenty of fluids.

In the current temperatures, it can become uncomfortable indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day when safe to do so.

Dr Sara Humphrey, clinical lead for older people at NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts CCGs, said: “Taking care in the sun is something which comes naturally when we are abroad on holiday, but we can all too easily get caught out when the blazing temperatures take us by surprise in Britain.

“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”

Whether on holiday or at home – people can protect themselves by following the Sun Smart messages:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am to 3pm
  • Make sure you never burn by taking sensible precautions
  • Aim to cover up with a t-shirt, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (ideally wraparound)
  • Remember to take extra care with children
  • Then use a factor 15 plus sunscreen.

Anyone taking medication should also consider keeping them in the fridge as many should be stored in below 25 degrees Celsius.

Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.

People should also think about food safety, as the number of cases of food poisoning doubles over the summer due to undercooked meat and the spreading of germs from raw to cooked food when using the barbecue.

To prevent illness caused by these germs, which include salmonella and E.coli, you could initially cook your food, thoroughly, using an oven and then transfer it to the barbecue for flavour.

Another problem during summer is the increase in pollution levels - this can cause difficulties for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions. People affected need to monitor all their symptoms regularly, keep an inhaler to relieve symptoms handy, and look out for media announcements on air quality.

More advice about staying healthy during hot weather is available on the NHS Choices website.