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Staying Safe in Hot Weather

Whilst most people find the summer sun enjoyable, please be mindful of the potential impacts the extreme heat can have on a person.

We are taking steps to ensure our patients, visitors and staff are well looked after during these peak times and are installing an additional 70 air conditioning units in clinical spaces across the Trust.

We also want to encourage local people to be mindful that heat-related conditions can add additional pressures to an already very busy healthcare service, and we would encourage you to call NHS 111 in the first instance if you are feeling unwell due to the heat.

NHS 111 are trained operators who can direct you to the most appropriate healthcare setting for your needs, which could be your GP or a pharmacist. Please only come to hospital if you need urgent or emergency care.

A message from Dr Steve Haig

Dr Steve Haig, Consultant Emergency Physician and Deputy Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our urgent and emergency care services are currently extremely busy, and we expect the high number of patients attending hospital will only increase throughout the week as the weather continues to get warm.

“Please be sensible when out in the sun, by wearing sun cream, sitting in shade and staying hydrated with lots of water.

“This will help to reduce your risks of sun-related health conditions, such as heat stroke or sunburn, and will also help to reduce the number of people needing to attend hospital.”

Tips for staying cool

Whether you’re out spending time with family and friends, at work or staying home, here are some things you can do to try and stay cool:

  • Avoid going out during the hottest times of the day (approximately 11am – 3pm)
  • Shut windows and curtains/blinds during the day and reopen them when the temperature drops in the evening
  • Wear sun cream if going outside
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Dress appropriately; loose fit, hat and sunglasses
  • Cover your car leather seats and steering wheel with a towel or blanket to avoid excessive heat when driving
  • Don’t forget to check on your friends, relatives and neighbours who may also be affected

Keep an eye out for signs of heat related illness

  • Heat exhaustion: you will feel very hot and start losing water or salt from your body. Symptoms include feeling weak, faint or sick, muscle cramps, headaches, excessive sweating and thirst
  • Heatstroke is less common but is more serious as the body is no longer able to cool itself the temperature becomes dangerously high. If untreated, symptoms may include confusion, seizures and in some cases a loss of consciousness.

What you can do

If you notice someone with signs of a heat related illness, you should:

  • Help them get to a cool place and where they can lie down
  • Remove unnecessary clothing to help their body cool down
  • Use water or a damp flannel to cool their neck and armpits
  • Get them to drink water or lower fat milks
  • Stay with them until they start to feel better

When to call 111

If they start to recover but you are still worried about them, contact NHS 111 for further advice.

When to call 999

If the person is not responding to the cooling treatments after 30 minutes or has heatstroke symptoms such as a loss of consciousness, confusion, or seizures, call 999 immediately.

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