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Keep your cool in the heatwave

A heatwave and sweltering summer temperatures are often a welcome part of the summer months – but heatwaves can be dangerous for the very young and very old, or those with chronic health issues.

Tragically, there are around 2,000 heat related deaths every year across the country. Ealing Council is therefore supporting residents to stay safe and urging people to check on anyone who may be vulnerable during the heatwave conditions.

Risks in hot weather include dehydration, overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing, and heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Heatwave can affect anyone, but some of the most vulnerable are older people – especially those over 75, living on their own or in a care home.

Those with serious or long term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabeteskidney diseaseParkinson’s disease or some mental health conditions all need to take extra care, as well as those who may find it hard to keep cool – including babies, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer’s disease

People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside are also at a higher risk.

There are plenty of tips to reduce the chances of heat related health problems:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • if going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately, keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines
  • follow coronavirus social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling
  • if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice.

Thames Water is also working to ensure that local people continue to have a reliable water supply throughout the heatwave and is recommending some simple steps to ensure you make sure every drop counts. They include everything from reusing what is left in the paddling pool to water plants, to swapping the hose for a watering can, to letting grass grow a bit longer over the summer.

Leader of the council, Peter Mason said: “Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for those with chronic health issues, older people and the very young. We are working to make sure anyone struggling with the heat is supported and asking our residents to check on older and vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours.

“There is a range of advice is available in the ongoing heatwave, including how to spot the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and when to get help. I encourage everyone to have a look and make sure they keep themselves, and others as safe and comfortable as possible during the hot weather.

“We have seen an increase in the frequency of very hot weather and heatwave conditions over the summer, with climate emergency contributing to this. It is therefore more vital than ever to build resilience in our communities, support vulnerable people and take bold steps to improve the borough through our climate action programme.”

‘Risking the safety of people, wildlife and our green spaces’

Local people are reminded that BBQs and fires are not allowed in any of the borough’s parks or open spaces at any time.

Ealing Council is supporting the London Fire Brigade as it works to prevent grass fires – which the capital is at more of a risk from during hot and dry weather.

Some of the most common causes of grass fires are barbecues left unattended, carelessly discarded cigarettes and matches, and glass bottles left on dry grass.

Councillor Mason continued: “It may seem harmless, but the truth is anyone having a BBQ in one of Ealing’s parks or public areas is risking the safety of people, wildlife and our green spaces.

“We want everyone to enjoy our parks over the summer, but we need local people to do this in a safe and responsible manner and follow the advice of the London Fire Brigade. This means avoiding BBQs and disposing of cigarettes and glass properly.

“During warmer weather our park rangers often see an increase in littering, including abandoned picnics, where irresponsible individuals have left food, plastic packaging, pizza boxes, cans, and bottles discarded.

“We all have a role in keeping our green spaces clean and tidy and anyone planning visit must take all rubbish and packaging home – and never leave it on the ground or piled up in and arounds bins in public spaces. I’d like to thank vast majority of our residents do their bit to keep our parks and green spaces clean, tidy.

“Ealing is rightly recognised as one of the greenest and most beautiful boroughs in London and I know local people will be out and enjoying our parks and green spaces over the summer months.”

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