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North West Ambulance Service warns of increased demand due to heatwave


North West Ambulance Service warns of increased demand due to heatwave.

 

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is advising the public to take extra precautions after a health alert was issued due to hot weather expected in the next few days. The alert, issued by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office, will last for the next four days. NWAS is also asking people to help others whose illnesses may worsen because of the conditions. The trust traditionally sees a rise in demand during these times, which also might see some patients waiting longer for a response.

 

Dr Chris Grant, Medical Director at NWAS, emphasises the importance of preparedness during extreme heat: “Heatwaves can pose significant health risks, especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. We encourage everyone to take necessary precautions to stay safe, such as staying hydrated, avoiding strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day, and keeping an eye on vulnerable individuals. If you or someone you know shows signs of heat-related illness, seek medical help immediately. By taking these steps, you help ensure emergency services can focus on the most critical cases."

 

Safety tips for coping with hot weather:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of cold fluids, such as water, to prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which can lead to dehydration.

  • Stay cool: Wear light, breathable clothing, stay in the shade or indoors during the hottest parts of the day, and use fans or open windows at night to cool your living space.

  • Look after vulnerable people: Check in on elderly neighbours, those with chronic health conditions, and anyone without air conditioning. Ensure they have access to adequate hydration and a cool environment.

  • Avoid strenuous activity: Reduce physical activity during peak heat, especially outdoors. If exercise is necessary, do it early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

 

There is a difference between heat stroke (a medical emergency) and heat exhaustion. Typically, symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headache. People will usually feel better after drinking water and cooling down for 30 minutes. However, this can develop into heatstroke if no action is taken. If someone starts to suffer symptoms including confusion, high body temperature, and loss of consciousness, call 999 immediately for emergency help.

 

We urge the public to only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies. If you need medical advice for non-emergency situations, consider contacting NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk for guidance.

 

For more information on staying safe during a heatwave, visit the NHS website or contact your GP or local pharmacist.

 

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