British Red Cross issues advice for staying cool in a heatwave

by Northern Life

Joe Mulligan, Head of First Aid Education at the British Red Cross, said: 

“Whether a summer heatwave fills you with excitement or concern overheating in this hot weather can be dangerous, but there are simple of staying cool in a heatwave.

Evidence shows that number of people visiting their GP for heat-related illness can double during a heatwave.

Many heat related illnesses occur because someone has been in the heat too long or has over-exerted without drinking enough fluid. During this period of soaring temperatures everyone can take simple steps to stay safe. Avoiding going out in the sun at the hottest time of the day, drinking plenty of water and even wearing a hat on hot days can all make a real difference.”

How to help someone with heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when someone loses too much fluid and salt from sweating in hot conditions.

If a person has heat exhaustion, they may:

  • be dizzy or confused and complain of a headache
  • be sweating and have pale, cool skin
  • feel nauseous

What to do

  1. Help them to a cool place and get them to rest.This will help them start to cool down.
  2. Give them plenty of water to drink.Isotonic sports drinks are even better as they will also help replace the salts lost through sweating.
  1. Seek medical advice. Even if the person appears to recover fully, they should seek medical advice. If their condition gets worse, call 999 for emergency help.

How to help someone with heatstroke

Sitting out in the sun for too long can make the body overheat and lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke happens when someone gets so hot that their body can’t control their temperature. It’s much less common than sunburn and very serious – the person needs help straight away.

A person with heatstroke may:

  • have hot, flushed and dry skin
  • have a headache, feel dizzy or be confused and restless
  • get worse quickly and become unresponsive

What to do

  1. Call 999 immediately or get someone else to do it.
  2. Cool them. Quickly move them into a cool environment and remove outer clothing. Wrap them in a cold, wet sheet and keep pouring water over them.
  3. Keep cooling them while waiting for help to arrive. If their temperature returns to normal and they no longer feel hot to touch, you can stop cooling them.

How to help someone with sunburn

What to do

  1. Move into the shade.
  2. Have frequent sips of cold water. Cool the affected skin by dabbing with cold water.
  3. Apply after sun lotion to soothe the area.