To keep everyone safe and well over summer we have some useful information, hints and tips to help us all stay happy and healthy.
The summer heat can affect us all. Some people are more at risk of harm from high temperatures and need to be more careful. These include older people, especially those over 75, people who live on their own, those with a pre-existing health condition, babies and young children and people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places.
Older people are more susceptible to dehydration. Our ability to conserve water lessens as we get older. We can become less aware of being thirsty and have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. It’s really important during warmer weather to keep hydrated.
Top up regularly with water to avoid feeling tired and confused. Healthy older adults should aim for 6 to 8 glasses (1.5 to 2 litres) of liquid intake per day. Drink frequently through the day, rather than large amounts in one go. A straw can be helpful, as can taking drinks from small glasses, rather than being daunted by a tall drink.
Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn doesn't just happen on holiday - you can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy. There is no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan doesn't protect your skin from the sun's harmful effects, make sure sunscreen is used.
Aim to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight with short regular exposures outdoors. Think about taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D to protect bone and muscle health.
In warm and sunny weather older people need to be aware of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia, that can be life threatening. Look out for body temperatures over 104°F, headaches, nausea, dry skin and no sweating, agitation and heavy breathing.
The NHS has more on sun safety and heatwave advice.
In hot weather, feeling unwell, dizzy, anxious, very thirsty or painful muscle spasms could be signs of heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. Rest immediately in a cool place, drink plenty of water and use rehydration solutions if suitable. If you are unable to cool down after 30 minutes this could turn into heat stroke.
Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia and can be life threatening. Look out for body temperatures over 104°F, headaches, nausea, dry skin and no sweating, agitation, and heavy breathing.
The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy. Treat heat stroke as an emergency and get help if you still feel unwell after 30 minutes of symptoms starting.
If you decide to swim outdoors in the sea, a pool or river to keep cool, you must make sure it’s a safe place to swim. Look out for warning signs and hidden dangers.
Children should never swim in these areas unaccompanied.
The cost of living affects us all, no matter what the weather. Keeping your home cool, by running several electric fans, for example, can lead to higher bills.
We have advice for you if you are struggling with your energy bills this summer. You can also contact the Energy Advice Line for tips to keep your home cool without costing lots.
Daily exercise is important to keep fit and well. Taking exercise each day, even just a walk out in the fresh air, helps you stay strong and healthy. It lowers your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Exercise has real benefits to your mental health, boosting your self-esteem and improving your sleep.
Exercise helps you to avoid falls, particularly exercise that builds strength and balance. Dudley Falls Prevention works to help older people avoid falls and with recovery following a fall. Anyone worried about their balance, mobility, or taking a fall can ask for help from the service. A telephone assessment can be arranged, or a safe, distanced home assessment from specialist falls advisor. The service works closely with local hospitals and GPs.
During the summer, avoid or limit strenuous activity when it is very hot outside. Keep outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, to cooler times of the day.
It’s important that anyone living with a long-term health problem, such as COPD, heart problems or diabetes, learns to manage the condition. This is especially true during warmer weather. People can struggle in the heat, which can make symptoms worse.
Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
Many prescription medicines can reduce people’s tolerance to heat. Keep taking your medicines and seek medical advice.
Visit our Let's Get site, call 01384 732402 for more information.
It’s always good to make sure you are keeping as safe and independent at home. There’s lots of help on offer from our service Living Well Feeling Safe. The service offers free home safety and security advice and equipment. All provided from a home visit, or a telephone assessment if you prefer. They will also look at any adaptations, or support that will help keep you as independent as possible.
They also offer a self-serve online option. With this you can quickly and easily find equipment, aids and services to make things easier for your own circumstances. Purchasing items online is also an option.
It is important that carers look after themselves and take a break during the pleasant summer months.
Dudley Carers Hub offers practical help, information and advice to anyone caring for a family member or friend.
It’s tempting during the summer to keep windows open. But remember to keep your home safe and secure. Window restrictors are a great solution, letting air in but keeping your home secure. Living Well Feeling Safe can give advice on these, as well as other gadgets and give support for keeping safe and independent at home.
If you are going on holiday or on long day trips, remember to keep your home looking occupied. Use timer switches, or ask neighbours to pop in remove post or close curtains.
Summer is a great time to enjoy a BBQ or picnic with family and friends. Stay safe and remember that warm weather and outdoor cooking can create the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow.
Food poisoning can be avoided by following good food hygiene practices. Avoid cross-contamination - most likely to happen when raw food touches or drips onto ready-to-eat food, utensils, or surfaces. Keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation and keep it chilled and out of the sun until serving.
If you have food left over, cover and cool cooked foods quickly at room temperature. Place them in a fridge or cool bag within one to two hours and consume within 48 hours. If you’re reheating anything, only reheat it once and make sure it’s piping hot before serving.
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health.
It is important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection. To prepare your child for their admissions to school, college or university in September, make sure they are up to date with the vaccinations they need.
These include 4-in-1 preschool vaccines, the MMR vaccine and the MenACWY vaccine.
Download the Summer Wellbeing booklet packed full with information. We also have posters listing seven top tips to keep well - for festival goers, children and adults.