‘Stay out of the sun as much as you can’ warns Sefton’s Director of Public Health
While temperatures in the North West may not be forecast to reach the extreme 40°C that have caused the Met Office to issue the first ever Red warning for exceptional heat today, Sefton Council is still urging people to be careful and prepare for the heat.
We expect temperatures to rise above 30 C and people can develop health problems such as heat exhaustions and heatstroke, especially if they are either young or older or if they have an underlying health condition.
During hot and sunny weather, we also need to remember to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of UV light.
Sustained exposure to the sun even at lower temperature can cause a number of health problems such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke and everyone is vulnerable the harmful effects of UV light if unprotected.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “While I can fully understand that many people thoughts will turn to visiting the coast, what we need to remember is that on the beach, we are fully exposed to the effects of the sun and heat, especially if we are not prepared.
“It is important to stay out of the Sun as much as possible during the hottest part of the day. While it is so sunny if we do go out, we should wear sunscreen and a hat and try and stay in the shade.
“We should try and keep cool this could be indoors or outdoors in the shade.
“If you do want to go out, staying local in areas such as parks where trees and shelters can provide shade will be cooler and much more suitable for young children and elderly people who can succumb to the potentially dangerous effects of heat and dehydration very quickly.”
Heat Exhaustion is where people become very hot and start to lose water or salt from their body. Symptoms include weakness, faintness, headache, muscle cramps, feeling sick, heavy sweating and intense thirst.
Heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high. Heatstroke is less common, but more serious and untreated, it can cause confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.
Margaret continued: “The best way to look after ourselves during what the Government has called ‘a national emergency’ is to stay out of the extreme heat, ensure we cool ourselves down, keep our environment cool or find somewhere else that is cool, this could be indoors or outside in the shade.”
People can find out more information on keeping cool during the hot weather, and how to keep others safe at www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england/beat-the-heat-staying-safe-in-hot-weather
Anyone who does go to the coast needs to remember that with no shelter or shade, sand temperatures can rise very quickly, creating a very uncomfortable and challenging surface to walk or stand on.
Margaret Jones continued: “If you are determined to go the beach, use factor 30 or above sun cream and lots of it and make sure children are protected and not exposed too much, as sunburn can do long-term damage.
“Take plenty of drinks and ensure you keep hydrated because heat exhaustion and heatstroke can creep up on you and think about taking regular trips to somewhere off the beach where you can find some shade.”
Sefton and its partners coast teams will be on duty over the coming days, and they can provide some first aid. With ambulance services currently at full stretch, people needing more thorough emergency treatment may find themselves facing a long wait for assistance.
People visiting the Sefton coast this weekend are asked to dispose of litter carefully in bins, or if they are full, to take litter home with them as some items such as glass in strong sunshine can cause fires, like a magnifying glass.
Also, migrating birds are returning so people are asked not to disturb these incredible travellers as they rest on the shoreline and to dogs under control.