The first Heat-Health Alert of 2023 has been issued for Buckinghamshire.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office have issued the first Heat-Health Alert (HHA) of the year for Buckinghamshire, with temperatures potentially reaching 30C on Saturday 10th June 2023.
While for most of us, the warm dry weather is welcome, when temperatures are forecast to reach a certain threshold, they now trigger a new health alert system and this is what has happened.
The alert has been in place since 9.00am on Friday 9th June 2023 and currently lasts until 9.00am on Tuesday 13th June 2023. If current forecasted temperatures are reached, it’s possible there could be some impacts across the health and social care sector.
Under the Heat-Health Alerting system, the ‘Amber alert’ for Buckinghamshire means there could be an increased use of health care services by vulnerable populations and an increase in risk to health for individuals over the age of 65, or those with pre-existing health conditions. There is also the potential for indoor environments, including health and care settings, to become very warm.
Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents, particularly those who may be vulnerable, to be aware of the heat alert and take sensible precautions over the next few days.
Basic health advice for hot temperatures includes:
- Stay out of direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day, between 11.00am and 3.00pm, as UV rays are strongest during these hours.
- Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, wear a hat, sunglasses and light, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes.
- Stick to swimming pools or supervised venues if you choose to go for a swim.
- Apply sunscreen frequently with at least SPF 30 and 4- or 5-star ultraviolet A (UVA) protection regularly to exposed skin.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol.
- Never leave dogs or people in a parked vehicle during hot weather.
- Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, keep it for cooler parts of the day such as early morning or evening.
- Stay cool indoors by closing curtains on windows that face the sun. Open windows when it’s cooler outside than in (when it is safe to do so) and turn off any unnecessary electrical items.
Keep a close eye on older people, young children, and people with long term health conditions. Their bodies can struggle to cope with the heat and they are at greater risk.
Zahir Mohammed, Deputy Cabinet Member for Public Health at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘We obviously don’t want to be kill-joys and it’s lovely for most of us that the weather is warm and dry. However, we are expecting hot temperatures in Buckinghamshire in the next few days, and I’d advise residents to take sensible precautions.
Please do monitor the information and advice available from the Met Office, the government and the NHS and we will share any updates on our social media channels.
Enjoy the sunshine, but don’t underestimate the potential health impact of the heat; and please look out for any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours.‘
*Source of information : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.