Keep your cool during the heat wave

Posted: June 19, 2017

Easy steps to stay healthy

On the hottest day of the year, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is reminding local people of the easy steps to take to stay healthy when the mercury rises.
 
Swindon and the surrounding areas have seen temperatures hit 30 degrees in the last 24 hours and the hot weather looks set to stay for the rest of the week.
 
Warm weather in England is often short lived but even brief exposure to the sun without protection can have lasting damage. 

Lasting damage  

Tina Phillips, Skin Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: "Getting a painful sunburn just once every two years can triple a person's risk of skin cancer.  

"Even if you're in direct sunlight for a short period of time, it's important to make sure your skin is protected with a sun cream that's at least SPF 30 and offers UVA and UVB protection.
 
"When the sun is incredibly strong, like it has been this weekend, it's always best to stay indoors during the middle of the day, where it's often cooler."

Malignant melanoma cases in Wiltshire have been on the rise in recent years, with the number of new diagnoses in the county now above the national average.
 
The national Cover Up Mate campaign, which encourages males working outside for long periods to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the sun, launched this week. 

A good night's sleep  

Elsewhere, Specialist Sleep Nurse Samantha Backway has shared helpful tips for getting the best possible night's sleep.
 
She said: "The heat can make even the fittest person feel tired quicker than usual, so getting a good night's sleep is really beneficial at this time of year.
 
"Windows should be closed and curtains drawn during the day, then reopened in the evening when it's cooler.

"It's not always possible, but if you can, try to sleep downstairs where it will be cooler and have a bath or shower with tepid water to reduce your body's temperature before getting into bed.
 
"Putting a pillow or sheet in the fridge can help keep your bed cool, but the easiest way to keep the whole room feeling fresh is to switch off all electrical devices when you go to sleep as they all generate heat." 

Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
  • Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool. 
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. If you're worried about yourself or a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative, you can contact Swindon Borough Council.

Further information

More information on staying cool this summer can be found on the NHS Choices website.

More details about the weather are available on the Met Office website.

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