Amber heatwave first aid advice from St John Ambulance – St John Ambulance

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Update August 12, 2022: Amber alert for England until 14 August. Temperatures expected in the high 20s, low 30s. 
July 13, 2022: As parts of England face record temperatures over the next few days, first aid and health response charity St John Ambulance shares simple – potentially lifesaving – advice staying safe and cool in the hot weather. 
St John Ambulance’s heatwave essentials include: 
But knowing how to spot the symptoms and treat common heat-related conditions such as fainting, sunburn and dehydration can also be vital in helping people look after themselves and others, as well as preventing avoidable trips to hospital. 
St John Ambulance’s Medical Director, Dr Lynn Thomas, says: “We want everyone to enjoy the summer, but temperatures are expected to reach over 30 degrees in some parts of the UK, and it’s likely to stay hot for several days, so it’s even more important we know what to do to keep ourselves and our families safe and well.   
“Some really simple ways you can avoid adverse effects of the sun include staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water – little and often is preferable – staying out of the sun at peak times, and by wearing sunscreen with a minimum broad-spectrum SPF 30.   
“Young children and elderly relatives and neighbours are particularly vulnerable in warm weather and so I’d advise to check in with them, ensuring they have plenty of ways to keep hydrated, as any increase in temperature can be dangerous. Wearing a sun hat to avoid direct sun exposure is also helpful to keep the direct sun off your face. 
Extreme heat can impact our health, and whilst cold weather is a far bigger risk currently, NHS England says on average there are around 2,000 heat-related deaths each year – figures that may well rise as the country sees more hot weather events. 
Heat exhaustion 
Long periods in the sun can take its toll after a while and can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of salt and water from the body, usually through excessive sweating. It develops slowly and usually happens to people who aren’t used to hot, humid weather. If you’re at a festival and it’s very hot, it’s easy to suffer from heat exhaustion.   
How to spot heat exhaustion:   
There are six key things that you may lead you to suspect that someone has heat exhaustion:  
How to treat heat exhaustion:   
Heat stroke   
Heatstroke is even more serious than heat exhaustion, and can be life-threatening.  
How to spot heat stroke:   
There are the six key things to look out for:  
How to treat heatstroke:   
Sun burn 
Whether you’re out in the park, or relaxing on the beach, it’s important to avoid too much exposure to the sun by covering up with clothing, staying in the shade and applying high factor sunscreen. Most sunburn is mild, but in severe cases the skin can become damaged, turn lobster red and blister. They may also develop heat exhaustion.  
What to look for:   
How to treat sunburn:   
Dehydration happens when someone loses more fluid than they take in, especially if it’s really hot and sweaty outside, so make sure you’re sipping lots of water at regular intervals.  
How to spot dehydration:   
There are four key things to look for if someone is suffering from dehydration:  
How to treat dehydration:   
If left untreated, someone with dehydration can develop heat exhaustion, which is more serious, so it’s important to make sure they rehydrate themselves as soon as possible.  
Hay fever 
Hay fever is a very common condition that affects over 10 million people in England. It is caused by an allergy to pollen and usually causes mild symptoms of itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing. 
How can you reduce symptoms: 
When should I see my GP? 
Fainting is when someone briefly becomes unresponsive, often causing them to fall to the ground. It happens because for a moment, there is not enough blood flowing to the brain.    
People often faint as a reaction to pain, exhaustion, hunger, or emotional stress. It is also common for people to faint after they have been standing or sitting still for a long period of time, especially if they’re feeling hot.    
What to look for:   
How to treat someone who has fainted:  
For more first aid advice visit, or to keep up with the latest St John news by searching #AskMe. 
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