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Warm spell triggers heat alert for vulnerable

Published: 05/10/2023
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Another spell of warmer weather has activated a yellow Heat-Health Alert for the South East, including Kent.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office guidance, will apply from Noon, Wednesday (16 August), to 9am, Saturday (19), with temperatures expected to reach up to 24°C on Friday (18).

The alert also flags to the health and care sectors there could be an increased use of their services by vulnerable people.

Given this, residents are asked to check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours to make sure they keep safe and well.

The latest update follows a series of yellow and amber Heat-Health Alerts, the lower levels of warnings issued under UKHSA's new Weather-Health Alerting System earlier this summer.

Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh said: “Many will welcome the return of the sun; but for some hot weather poses a health risk - so please check in on the very young, elderly and those living with conditions, such as lung and heart disease, who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of higher temperatures..

“Other simple steps to stay safe include wearing sunscreen, UV glasses and loose, comfortable clothing.

"If you need to drive always carry water, food and any medications you need in your car, and follow local safety advice when going into the water to cool down.”

Dr Ash Peshen, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Kent and Medway, said: “However much we might like the sun, we know that it can have detrimental effects on our health, especially for the young, our elderly residents and those who are most vulnerable.

“By taking simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and finding shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill and needing the services of the NHS.

“Please also do check in on your vulnerable neighbours, families and friends to make sure they are aware of the forecast and following the necessary advice.”

Other key tips to stay well in warmer weather include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids like water and limiting how much alcohol you consume
  • Closing the curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler
  • Keeping windows closed in the heat of the day and opening then at night when temperatures drop
  • Having supplies of any medicines you have to take to avoid needing to go out when the sun is strong
  • Never leaving anyone, particularly babies, young children, and the elderly, and also animals, in a closed, parked vehicle, and
  • Following local safety advice when going into the water to cool down

Should you become unwell, unless it is an emergency, please remember to use 111 as your first point of contact for medical support. By phoning 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk, you will be directed to the right service for you. In an emergency, always call 999.

You can also visit Kent and Medway Integrated Care System’s website – Stop Think Choose – which lists local services, such as pharmacies and urgent treatment centres.

The NHS website – provides advice and guidance throughout the year on how to keep fit and well, including staying safe in hot weather.

For more tips about staying safe and healthy at this time of year, visit the Met Office’s Weather Ready page here: WeatherReady - Met Office.

You can sign up for UKHSA Weather Health Alerts here and specify what region you would like to receive alerts for.