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People urged to stay safe and well in September heat


Temperatures are set to reach the high twenties in Oxfordshire this week, so we are sharing some advice on how to stay safe and well in the heat.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a Yellow Heat Health Alert, while the Met Office has said large parts of the South of England will "meet heatwave criteria". Temperatures will sit in the high 20s, and could even go as high as low thirties.

When temperatures rise, more people – especially those in high-risk groups – can become unwell, and Emergency Departments – including those at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals – often see a rise in people attending during hotter weather.

Everyone should stay safe and well in the hotter weather, and take steps to look after themselves and relieve pressure on the NHS by:

  • Looking out for people who may struggle to keep cool and hydrated, such as elderly relatives or neighbours
  • Keeping windows closed when the room is cooler than outside, but opening them at night when the temperatures has dropped
  • Closing curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding excess alcohol, and taking water with you if travelling
  • Trying to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Staying in the shade
  • Applying sun cream regularly, and wearing a hat
  • Not exercising during the hottest parts of the day
  • Having cool showers or baths, putting a loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, and spraying or splashing your face with cold water frequently to help keep your body cool.

If you need urgent medical help you should use NHS 111 online first, which can direct where to go. Pharmacies, meanwhile, can offer advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, and aches and pains.

Heat-related illnesses can include heat exhaustion and dehydration, as well as sunburn.

Sunburn can often be treated at home, and heat exhaustion is not serious and usually gets better when you cool down. However, if this turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency.

There's a full list of symptoms on the NHS website, but those with heat exhaustion may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick and confused.

Anyone who is affected by any of these symptoms should cool down as quickly as possible. The NHS website has some useful information on how to do this, and what to do if your condition gets worse.

To find out more about staying safe during hot weather, visit the NHS website.