Heatwave prompts health warning

Weather
Weather

The heatwave has prompted a warning from Milton Keynes health bosses, who are warning people to take extra cars as temperatures soar.

Hot weather can pose a significant risk to health for elderly people and children, they say.

Every year, the city’s accident and emergency department is busy with people who have been affected by hot weather.

Most at risk are older people, young children and those with heart conditions and respiratory problems.

This week NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who is responsible for healthcare services in the area, is encouraging people to take all precautions possible to avoid ending up in A&E.

Health experts are reminding patients how best to stay well in the hot weather, how to treat the common ailments such as allergies, stings and bites, how to stay safe in the sun and avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital.

NHS Milton Keynes CCG say that the highest number of A&E attendances in 2014 were over the hotter months of June and July.

A significant proportion of patients who attended were discharged the same day with just advice. This suggests that in some cases these patients could have been better cared for in other places such as self-care at home or pharmacy and avoided a long wait in A&E.

Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “We hope that people enjoy the warm weather, but these high temperatures can have adverse effects on some people, particularly the very old, the very young and those with long term conditions.

“Each year we issue guidance about staying well in hot weather – to remind people that many problems can be treated at home or by a pharmacist.

“A call to NHS 111 for advice is worthwhile before attending A&E if your condition is not serious or life threatening. “High temperatures can pose a real risk to vulnerable people so it is important that people keep an eye on elderly family and neighbours during periods of hot weather.

“Use high factor sun protection especially for young children. Keep well hydrated, keep covered and avoid the sun at the hottest part of the day.

“Also adults should avoid excessive alcohol. If you have a chest condition like asthma, make sure you take your reliever inhaler if you are out and about.

“Skin problems such as insect bites and stings are very common and usually only cause minor irritation. Most can be treated at home following some basic tips which will help to improve symptoms.

“In rare cases, some stings can trigger a more serious reaction, so if you see lots of swelling or the affected area is spreading, you should call NHS 111 for expert advice over the phone.

“NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it can also advise you where to go if you do need medical attention.”

“For more information about staying well in the hot weather and treating bites and stings visit www.nhs.uk