I hope you have all been able to enjoy the glorious weather we have been treated to recently. I am certainly struggling to remember it being so consistently warm and dry for such a long stretch of time! I want to use my column to stress the vital importance of looking after yourselves and loved ones in the extreme heat.
Worryingly, research suggests more than half of young people don’t always apply sun cream and almost one in five never cover themselves up with long sleeves when out in the sun. That is very risky!
UV rays are particularly strong at the moment and cause lots of damage to any areas of skin which are not protected. Did you know every bit of sun damage increases the chances you have of developing skin cancer later in life?
To protect your skin, I would recommend wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and using good UVA protection. Wear sensible clothing such as a long sleeved shirt and never use sunbeds. I would also make room to spend some time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
Hot weather can also pose other health risks, with the young and elderly particularly vulnerable. Hot weather sees an increase in admissions to hospital for people aged 75 and over, especially those who suffer from heart or respiratory problems.
To avoid any potential complications, it is important to cool down as quickly as possible. Have cold drinks and avoid hot drinks and alcohol. Take a cool shower or bath, sprinkle water on the skin and put a damp cloth on the back of the neck.
As the warm weather is forecast to stay for a while yet, I would suggest planning ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool. I urge you all to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else who appears to be suffering from the heat please seek advice from NHS 111, your GP or call 999 if they have collapsed.
By taking these simple provisions, we can all enjoy this lovely weather safely. Don’t run the risk!