A top emergency department doctor has advised local people to take care with children, older people and those who are unwell during the current hot weather.
Dr Gayle Hann, a consultant paediatrician for emergency care at North Middlesex University Hospital , who earlier this year won the London NHS 70 Parliamentary Award for the best emergency department doctor, said:
“It’s great to enjoy the hot weather, but we want everyone to do so without becoming unwell. So far our A&E department has seen relatively small numbers of patients suffering from heat stroke and sunburn, but attendances have increased compared to last year. We have had an increase in admissions of babies, children and the elderly suffering from dehydration, particularly related to relatively minor viral illness such as tummy bugs and colds.”
Dr Hann’s top tips for staying healthy in the heat are:
- the young, older people and ill are most at risk in the heat: check on friends, family and neighbours daily and get help if needed
- drink plenty, avoiding alcohol and caffeine as they can make you more dehydrated – ice lollies can count towards fluid intake if your child is requiring encouragement
- if your family member is unwell, particularly with diarrhoea and vomiting, they will need extra fluids (babies should have 2-3 wet nappies a day at a minimum)
- if possible, wear loose light-coloured cotton clothing as dark fabric and artificial fibres can make you sweat and can absorb the sun’s rays, making you hotter
- try to keep out of the sun at the hottest times between 11am to 3pm, and if you have to work in the heat, try to buddy up to stay safe
- avoid vigorous exercise and exertion in the hottest parts of the day
- supervise young children and babies around water even in paddling pools (they can drown even in shallow water)
- never leave anyone in a closed parked vehicle, especially babies, young children, older people and pets
- apply a high factor suncream, if you do go out and don’t forget to reapply, especially after being in water
- walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- carry water with you, especially if travelling.