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What is a Heat Wave?

Heat waves are periods of time where the weather is significantly warmer than is usual for the season and climate. A heat wave can be accompanied by high humidity. To be a
 "heat wave" such a period should last at least one day, but usually it lasts from several days to several weeks.

During a heat wave the weather is likely to bring about some type of increased risk to people, animals, and may place additional strain on power supplies whichcauses blackouts. Additional stress on power supplies as people attempt to remain comfortable with air conditioning can lead to power failures at different points along a power grid. It also places a strain on hospitals and ambulance services.

When a heat wave occurs it is difficult for the body to co ol itself so if you work outdoors, it is critical that you remain aware of the temperature and take the appropriate precautions.

Dehydration a risk associated with a heat wave may also occur if care is not taken to drink sufficient quantities of liquid. This condition can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

During a heat wave, it is important to check on elderly relatives and neighbors, provide shade and plenty of water for pets, and in general find ways to keep the body properly hydrated.


What symptoms should you look out for?

In a heat wave extra strain is placed on the heart as it tries to cool the body, this can lead to an increase in heart related illnesses. Additionally, air quality often gets worse during a heat wave. In more extreme situations a person can overheat and dehydrate leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you have a heart problem, this may make your symptoms worse.


 Symptoms include;

·         headaches

·         dizziness

·         nausea and vomiting

·         muscle weakness or cramps

·         pale skin

·         a sudden rise in temperature

  Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

·         headaches

·         dizziness

·         nausea and vomiting

·         muscle weakness or cramps

·         pale skin

·         a sudden rise in temperature

If you are suffering from any worsening heart or heat exhaustion you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If possible, take a fresh shower, or sponge yourself down with cold water. If heat exhaustion is left untreated, heatstroke can develop. Remember however it can also occur suddenly and without warning.

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

·       headaches

·       nausea                                                           

·       an intense thirst

·       sleepiness 

·       hot, red and dry skin

·       a sudden rise in temperature

·       confusion

·       aggression

·       convulsions and a loss of consciousness

Stay CoolPicture

If you can, stay inside, in the coolest rooms in the house.

Reduce heat form sunlight coming through the windows. External shading, e.g. shutters, is best.

Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside and open them when                                                                        the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation.

Take cool showers or baths and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck. A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck can also help you to stay cool.

Indoor and outdoor plants will help keep your home cool due to evaporation and the shading from trees and bushes.

Have your home walls insulated, this keeps the heat in when it’s cold and out when it’s hot.

Keep Out of the HeatPicture

If a heat wave is forecast, try to plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat. 

If possible, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am - 3pm). 

If you cannot avoid strenuous activity like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning. 

If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light loose fitting clothes, preferably cotton. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you. 

Drink Regularly

Drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. Water and fruit juice are best.

Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.

Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit which contain water.

 Help Others

Older people are much more sensitive to the effects of heat. You can help older relatives or neighbors by checking on them every day if possible and reminding them to drink plenty and often. They should have a mixture of drinks including fruit juice and water.

Help them to keep their house as cool as possible, drawing curtains, opening windows at night, or using a fan if necessary.

Provide necessary foods and drinks to others, comfort and help them while helping you self. 

Those at particular risk during a Heat Wave

People suffering from mental illness, those with dementia, and those who rely on help from other people to manage day-to-day activities.

People who are bed-bound or have mobility problems.

People taking certain types of medication.

People with a serious condition, particularly breathing or heart problems.

People who already have a high temperature from an infection.

People who use alcohol or addicted to drugs.

Babies and young children, especially under four years old.

People who are physically active such as manual workers, or sportsmen and women

Koala Kindness in a heatwave: www.youtube.com/watch