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Extreme hot weather alert prompts urgent health advice for Powys residents

Yellow umbrella with bright sun and blue sky
Extreme hot weather alert prompts urgent health advice for Powys residents 

Powys Teaching Health Board is warning residents to take the extreme hot weather forecasts seriously and to plan well ahead to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.  

Mezz Bowley, Director of Public Health for Powys, said: “The heat may come as a surprise for some, and there are real hazards to be aware of including dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

“Children and babies, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to becoming extremely unwell. That is why we are asking parents and carers to keep a close eye and to check-in regularly with friends, family and loved ones.” 

In line with national advice from Public Health Wales, all residents are advised to alter their normal routines to help cope with the extreme heat. On a practical level this includes avoiding strenuous activity in the hottest part of the day, drinking plenty of water, wearing a wide brimmed hat, applying and re-applying a high factor sunscreen, and wearing light coloured and loose-fitting clothing.  

As temperatures rise, rooms can be kept cooler by closing curtains and blinds and closing windows when the outside temperature is higher than room temperature.  

Current Met Office forecasts warn of extremely hot weather building over the weekend, to peak in the early part of next week. This involves day-time temperatures reaching into the mid-30s, and night-time temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius.  

“The temptation is to carry on as normal,” continues Mezz, “but the situation is far from normal. We are likely to experience temperatures the likes of which have never been seen before in Powys. 

“We certainly don’t want to be killjoys but drinking excess alcohol and spending too long in the sun can have serious health consequences in this weather. This is especially important as the Royal Welsh Show starts on Monday, which brings with it a lot of fun but also lots of congestion to our roads, which can make accessing emergency medical care more difficult.  

“Tempting as it may be to jump into a river or a lake, this also becomes more hazardous as the temperatures rise. The extremely cold water can bring on thermal shock. Please follow the excellent advice from the Royal Lifesaving Association on inland water safety.  

“Furthermore, COVID-19 infection levels within the community remain high, so I would recommend people continue to wear masks in enclosed crowded spaces, observe social distancing where possible, continue with good hand hygiene, and if you have signs and symptoms COVID-19 stay at home and avoid contact with other people,” she concludes.  

If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache during the hot weather, tell someone and take the following action: 

  • Move to a cool place as soon as possible 

  • Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate 

  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or stomach after sustained exercise during very hot weather) and drink milk or fruit juice 

  • Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour 

  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist 

It’s important to know the symptoms of heatstroke.  Call 999 if you think someone has heatstroke, as it is a medical emergency. If you are concerned about any symptoms you, or someone you know are experiencing, contact your GP or visit NHS 111 Wales to check your symptoms

Symptoms of heat stroke include:  

  • Feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water 

  • Not sweating, even while feeling too hot 

  • A high temperature of 40 degrees Celsius or above 

  • Fast breathing or a shortness of breath 

  • Feeling confused 

  • A fit (or seizure) 

  • Unconsciousness 

  • Being non-responsive