Date published: 26 June 2024

East Midlands Ambulance Service is advising residents and holidaymakers to the region to take steps to stay healthy as the weather starts to heat up.

Earlier this week, the Met Office issued a Yellow alert as the East Midlands began to experience hotter weather which is likely to impact the most vulnerable people more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. These include:

  • Older people aged 75 and up.
  • Babies and very young children.
  • People on multiple medications or with chronic illnesses.

As the temperatures continue to increase, even healthy people not considered as being in a vulnerable group, can start to become affected by the heat, with conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Heat exhaustion can often be managed if you cool down, by moving to the shade, removing all unnecessary clothing, drinking cold fluids, and cooling the skin with cool water and a fan.

If not managed, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, which can be a medical emergency.

If someone’s showing signs of a heatstroke – like confusion, headache, or hot/dry skin – act fast! Move them to a cooler place, call 999 if they remain unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place, being cooled and drinking fluids, and put the person in the recovery position if they lose consciousness while you’re waiting for help.

Help us help those who need us in an emergency

In order to protect our ambulance crews so they are able to attend the most seriously ill people in the region, we need people to take responsibility for keeping themselves well during the hot weather.

This means:

  • Drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  • Staying in the shade or a cool part of the house.
  • Taking extra precautions to keep babies and young children cool and hydrated.
  • Checking on elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

Dr Nicole Atkinson, Medical Director at East Midlands Ambulance Service said:

“The NHS and ambulance service continues to be very busy and our staff and volunteers are working tremendously hard to respond to people who need emergency medical help.

“During this hot weather, we urge everyone to take responsibility for their health and well-being. This not only keeps you well, but also supports our ambulance crews in attending the most critically ill patients across our region.

“If you are unwell, it’s crucial to choose the right service for your healthcare needs. For example, self-care, your pharmacy, NHS 111, your GP, or an Urgent Treatment Centre can all assist with urgent but non-life-threatening conditions.”

By taking these steps, you can prevent heat-related illnesses and help ensure that emergency services are available for those with the greatest clinical need.

Other summer safety measures to consider:

  • Be cautious with water activities – swimming in open water can be dangerous due to the risk of cold-water shock. It’s safer to participate in supervised swim sessions or swim at beaches with lifeguards. Learn more about the risks at the RNLI website.
  • Pack a first aid kit for your travels to treat most minor illnesses and injuries.
  • Use sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Prolonged heat can exacerbate existing medical conditions – drink small amounts of water often; wear light, loose clothing; and keep your home cool by closing curtains and blinds.
  • For more information on how to manage a heart condition in the hot weather, visit the British Heart Foundation’s website.