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Dudley Council
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Helping you and your family stay safe and well this summer.

The warmer summer months are the time for getting outdoors, enjoying the warm weather and relaxing in the sunshine. The summer heat can affect us all though and 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, people who have pre-existing health condition, babies and young children and people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places.

Hopefully we will enjoy a sunny and warm summer this year. To keep everyone safe and well over summer we have some useful information, hints and tips to help us all stay happy and healthy. You can download a Summer Wellbeing booklet packed full of information below, or one of the posters listing seven top tips to keep well - for children, adults and festival goers. 

We also want to make sure that people know where to get help and support if they need it, so no one feels isolated or doesn’t know where to get help.

Keeping healthy and well over the summer months

Stay cool, hydrated and keep sun safe

Older people are more susceptible to dehydration. The ability to conserve water lessens as we get older and 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 1.5 to 2 litres (6 – 8 glasses) of liquid intake per day, 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.

Keep sun safe

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's 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.

To protect bone and muscle health people should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D.

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 degrees, headaches, nausea, dry skin and no sweating, agitation and heavy breathing.

You can find out more about sun safety and heatwave advice on the NHS’s website and follow the link to seasonal health, summer health.

Top tips to keep summer safe and well

These tips may seem like common sense but can make a big difference to your wellbeing.

  • Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest, usually between 11am and 3pm in the UK
  • Avoid getting sunburnt - use sunscreen (at least factor 30) and cover up with suitable loose-fitting cotton clothing, a hat and sunglasses
  • If driving, make sure your vehicle is well ventilated and take plenty of water with you
  • If you live on your own ask someone to check up on you regularly during periods of extreme heat
  • Keep cool and drink plenty of cold drinks and cut back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Eating cold foods like salads and fruit which have a higher water content can help you stay hydrated
  • Keep your home cool – shade or cover windows in sunny rooms and keep the windows closed during the day. Open the windows when it is cooler outside. Turn off lights and electrical equipment when they are not in use
  • Do not use a fan if anyone in your household is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus
  • Take cool baths or showers
  • If you decide to take a swim outdoors to keep cool, make sure it’s a safe place to swim, look out for warning signs and hidden dangers
  • If you feel unwell, dizzy, anxious or very thirsty or if you have painful muscle spasms when it is hot weather - rest immediately in a cool place, drink and cool down, use rehydration solutions if suitable. Get help if you still feel unwell

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

If you or someone else feels unwell, dizzy, anxious, very thirsty or if you have painful muscle spasms during hot weather this could be a sign of heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. To cool down rest immediately in a cool place, drink plenty of water, use rehydration solutions if suitable, if you are unable to cool down after 30 minutes this could turn into heatstroke.

Heat stroke is advanced form of hyperthermia, that can be life threatening. Look out for body temperatures over 104 degrees, 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. Heat stroke needs to be treated as an emergency, get help if you still feel unwell after 30 minutes of symptoms starting.

Keeping active and avoiding falls

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. It also has real benefits to your mental health, boosting your self-esteem and improving your sleep.

Exercise also helps you to avoid falls, particularly exercise that builds strength and balance. For anyone worried about falling, 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 or keep outdoor activity such as sport, DIY or gardening to cooler parts of the day.

Manage your long term conditions

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 so during warmer weather where 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 Lets-Get site, call 01384 732402 for more information.

Keeping independent

Whatever the time of year, it’s always good to make sure you are keeping as safe and independent at home. There’s lots of help on offer from council service - Living well feeling safe to keep older people safe and independent. The service offers free home safety and security advice and equipment, all provided from a home visit, or a telephone assessment if you prefer. Here 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 where you can quickly and easily find equipment, aids and services online to make things easier for your own individual circumstances, even purchasing them online.

For more information visit living well feeling safe, call 01384 817743 or email livewellfeelsafe@dudley.gov.uk

Carers – look after yourselves

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.

Call 01384 818723, or email dudleycarershub@dudley.gov.uk

 

Keep safe and secure at home

It’s tempting during the summer to keep windows open but it’s important to 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 advise on these, as well as other gadgets and support for keeping safe and independent at home.

Remember as well if you are going on holiday (when we are allowed) or on long day trips, to keep your home looking occupied use timer switches, or ask neighbours to pop in remove post or close curtains.

Swimming outdoors

If you decide to take a swim outdoors in the sea, a pool or river to keep cool, 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.

Look out for others

  • Never leave anyone in a closed, stationary vehicle
  • Make regular checks on people living alone, elderly, ill, vulnerable family, friends and neighbours and very young people during periods of extreme heat and make sure they are able to keep cool.
  • Be alert and call a doctor or support services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.

Food safety

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 is be avoided by following good food hygiene practices, avoiding cross-contamination - most likely to happen when raw food touches or drips onto ready-to-eat food, utensils, or surfaces, keeping chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation and 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.

Find out more about food safety.

Childhood vaccinations

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 you 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.

fine more information on these vaccines

Stay informed about the weather

The UK is prone to extreme weather, from heavy rain to heatwaves, keep up to date with weather and temperature updates on our severe weather page.

You can also find useful information here on looking out for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

You can also visit the Met Office (the national meteorological service for the UK) and check the weather forecast and help you plan ahead, being aware of when a heatwave has been forecast.