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Look after yourselves, and each other, during hot weather this summer

Sunny afternoons, holidays, ice creams and trips to the beach form an ideal summer, but when it’s too hot for too long there are health risks, especially for the very young, the elderly and the seriously ill.

West Sussex County Council Public Health is urging everyone to see if they are at risk, think about vulnerable family members or friends, and to remember top tips for staying cool.

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing Christine Field said: “While our summer has taken a while to get started, a heatwave is a serious issue.

“We have a relatively older population in West Sussex, and I would urge residents to not only look out for themselves, but also elderly neighbours. By following simple advice and easy tips, we can all avoid ill health this summer.”

Heatwaves are a serious issue. In one hot spell in August 2003, the number of people who died aged 75 and over in England rose by 60%, with around 2,000 extra deaths than would normally be expected.

Some easy tips to cope in hot weather are:

•       Avoid getting too hot in the first place – keep windows closed if it is cooler inside, close curtains or blinds.
•       Have plenty of cold drinks and avoid alcohol.
•       Have regular cool baths and showers.
•       Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm), stay in the shade and avoid strenuous activity.
•       Wear appropriate cool, light clothing and a hat.
•       When going outside, make sure you and your family use sun cream at all times to protect your skin.

Anyone worried about their health during hot weather or a heatwave, especially if taking medication, feeling unwell or having any unusual symptoms such as cramp in arms, legs or stomach, weaknesses or problems sleeping should contact their doctor, pharmacist, or call NHS 111 or visit the website at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

Christine added: “We all want to enjoy the summer, so please help pass heatwave advice to anyone you think is vulnerable or could be at risk and help make sure they know what to do to protect themselves in the extreme heat.”

For more information about hot weather and health please visit http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/living/emergency_services/preparing_and_dealing_with/severe_weather/heatwave.aspx

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