Ambulance service offers advice for summer sun seekers

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South Central Ambulance are urging people to be careful when out in the summer sun.

With the current hot weather and with school half term holiday and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations both happening next week SCAS is urging parents and their children to play safe and enjoy the summer, respect the sun and take care at home.

SCAS Operations Director, John Nichols said: “With schools out for the half term holiday and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next week we can expect to see more children out and about with family and friends, playing outdoors and on our streets.

“Drivers are reminded to observe speed limits and to watch out for children in the vicinity of ice cream vans and parked cars. Teenagers on mopeds must wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. Cyclists are reminded to wear a helmet and pedestrians should always follow the green cross code when crossing the road. Wear relevant footwear to avoid cuts and blisters on summer walks.”

They also offered the following tips.

• Reduce your exposure to the sun particularly between 11am and 4pm

when the sun’s rays are strongest, or when the UV Index is 3 or more.

• Find a place in the shade to enjoy picnics and, if you’re off to the beach or out in the open carry an umbrella to create your own shade.

• Wear lightweight, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing to cover your arms and legs.

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your head, face, ears and neck and remember baseball caps, whichever way you wear them do not give sufficient protection to your face and neck.

• Always wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

• Go for a factor 15 or higher sunscreen and use lots of it, reapply often and, if you’re out for the day use factor 30.

• Keep babies out of the direct sun.

“Inland waterways and the coast are popular destinations for people during the summer months, which can make them dangerous places for those who take risks.

Traditionally ambulance service call outs to open water rescues increase at this time of year as people attempt to cool off and then get into difficulty.

“It may be very appealing to jump into water to cool off on a hot summer’s day but people need to be aware of how dangerous it really is. Water can look calm on the surface but contain unseen debris and, rivers in particular, can have treacherous undercurrents.

“Although it is banned, people are also often tempted to swim in reservoirs without realising that there is automatic equipment located under the surface which can operate without warning and cause dangerous hidden currents.

“Furthermore, the temperature of deep water is much colder than people would expect and, even on a hot summer’s day, rarely gets above freezing. This is cold enough to take your breath away, which is the body’s natural reaction and cannot be controlled, possibly leading to panic and drowning. Cold can also make your arms and legs numb which means you can’t control them to swim and can also lead to hypothermia – a serious reduction in body temperature - which can cause heart failure.

“Back at home check your windows and, where appropriate fit child safety locks. It’s tempting to keep windows open in hot weather, particularly upstairs. Open windows pose a hazard to young children who may climb through them and suffer a fall onto hard ground below resulting in serious injury, or death.

“Most importantly, enjoy the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the half-term holiday, and be safe and have fun this summer!”