AS temperatures continue to push heatwave levels, Public Health England has issued fresh advice to practice sun sense and look out for others, especially the vulnerable such as the older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
Health organisations and local authorities should prepare for the rising heat by reviewing the Heatwave Plan for England, which plans and forewarns in case of a heatwave later this summer.
Top advice for being sun safe if outdoors for more than 20 minutes:
• Apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, and wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes which will minimise the risk of sunburn.
• Drink lots of cool drinks, avoiding alcohol.
• Seek shade.
• Look out for others - especially the vulnerable such as older people, young children, babies and those with serious illnesses.
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
Many members of the Muslim community may be fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan – which ends on Tuesday.
It is common for those observing Ramadan to have one meal just before sunrise and an evening meal after sunset during Ramadan. During hot weather, dehydration is a common and serious risk. It is important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water.
Advice for those fasting during Ramadan and the hot weather includes:
• If you start to feel unwell, disoriented or confused, collapse or faint, advice is to stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid. This is especially important for older adults, those with poorly controlled medical conditions such as low/high blood pressure, diabetes and those who are receiving dialysis treatment.
• The Muslim Council of Britain has confirmed that breaking fast in such conditions is allowable under Islamic law. Also make sure to check on others in the community who may be at greater risk and keep an eye on children to ensure they are having a safe and healthy Ramadan.
• Guidance has been produced to help ensure that members of the Muslim community. The Guide to healthy fasting in Ramadan has been produced in association with the NHS.
Dr Mark Evans, Deputy Director of Health Protection for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire AGW PHE Centre said: “It’s good that the sun is shining and we can all enjoy a taste of summer – but it’s important to remember that rising heat does bring health risks for some.
“For the time being we recommend that people keep an eye on the weather forecast for the coming days, consider avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm, drink plenty of fluids and keep an eye out for the vulnerable, children and older people.
“It’s important to make the most of the good weather but equally important that people don’t get too much sun or heat and make themselves ill especially children enjoying the start of the summer holidays.”
For more information on sun safety, please visit the PHE Sun Sense webpage or http://sunsmart.org.uk/UV-the-sun-and-skin-cancer/how-to-enjoy-the-sun-safely/.