Keep cool and safe during heatwave

With the heatwave forecast to continue for the rest of the week, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is urging residents to take care so they can safely enjoy the warm summer weather.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures will peak in the city at 27C on Friday and Public Health England is advising people to keep safe in the sun by carrying out the following simple precautions:

· Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm

· Wear sunscreen

· Wear loose cotton clothing

· Drink lots of cool drinks

· Seek shade

· Wear sunglasses and a hat

· Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses

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

The city has a number of open waters including lakes at Hanley Park, Burslem Park and Central Forest Park and people who want to take a dip to cool down should do so only in the safety of a public swimming pool where there are qualified lifeguards on duty.

Councillor Adrian Knapper, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:

“After the cold and wet winter we had it’s great to finally see the sun shining, but all of us need to make sure we’re taking steps to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries.

“The simple ones are wearing high-protection sun cream, staying out of the sun during peak hours and drinking plenty of water. People also need to look out for their family, friends and neighbours during the warm weather and make sure they are keeping cool and have everything they need.

“The hot weather always sees more people cooking al fresco and it’s important residents take extra care when having barbecues. I’d also strongly urge anyone tempted to cool off in one of our many lakes or canals not to do so. The bottoms are uneven, you could get muscle cramps and stitches and even strong swimmers can slip underwater. The safest way to cool down is to go for a swim in one of our public swimming pools.”

People can try to keep their bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening their windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when they can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

Health and social care workers should regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26C and ensure patients have access to cold water and ice.

Dr Zafar Iqbal, Director of Public Health at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“High temperatures experienced during heatwaves exacerbate health issues, such as heart disease, and lead to avoidable deaths.

“People should take note of weather warnings in the media and avoid long periods of exposure to very high temperatures. I’d also stress the importance of not taking part in strenuous activity during very hot weather, especially if you suffer from a health condition that can be made worse by extreme temperatures.”

For more information about the Heat-Health Watch system from the Met Office, visit www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/heathealth/

Sun safety tips are available from Public Health England by visiting www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/Radiation

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