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24 June 2010, 14:01
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) is urging people to take appropriate precautions with temperatures predicted to remain high in the coming days.
Temperatures have been predicted to rise to close to 30 degrees in some parts of the region. The high temperatures, coupled with England’s World Cup clash with Germany on Sunday afternoon, means the Trust is expecting the number of calls it receives to be high, especially while the hot weather continues.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week (21-22 June), SECAmb received more than 300 more 999 calls than the same days the previous week.
During hot weather, SECAmb typically sees an increase in calls relating to sunburn, dehydration and heat stroke, although many of these calls can be avoided if some simple precautions are taken.
High temperatures can also seriously affect people with long-term conditions such as heart conditions or high blood pressure. SECAmb is urging these people to be equally cautious during the hot weather.
Head of Emergency Preparedness at SECAmb Andy Parr said: “During periods of high temperatures we are called to incidents relating to conditions you’d expect such as dehydration, heat stroke and incidents around water – but high temperatures can also exacerbate some pre-existing medical conditions.
“The elderly and people suffering from high blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart conditions for example, as well as pregnant woman and babies should all be especially careful.
“With England also playing this weekend, and hopefully in the weeks to come, supporters should be very careful if they’re consuming alcohol in the hot weather and make sure they also drink plenty of water. We’ve experienced an increase in calls when the England games have been on and coupled with the high temperatures we’re asking people to enjoy themselves but to be sensible at the same time.”
By following the simple measures below the public can potentially avoid the need to call an ambulance.
Remember, heat stroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke call 999 immediately.
While waiting for the ambulance you should follow the instructions given to you by the ambulance call taker. The following can also help someone suffering from heat stroke.
· If possible, move the person somewhere cooler.
· Increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan.
· Cool the patient down as quickly as possibly by loosening their clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet.
· If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink.
· Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol.
If you need medical advice or treatment you can:
For more the latest heatwave guidance from the Department of Health visit www.secamb.nhs.uk/document-library-2/publications