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Keeping those vulnerable safe in hot weather

Summer is the season best loved by so many. However, the sun is extremely dangerous and must be treated with respect. Over-exposure will, often, lead to you, or someone you care for, taking ill. It is at this time of year, in particular, that those who are the most physically vulnerable in society need to be given the right guidance and protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

If you or a loved one has some form of disability or mobility issue, it is important to take extra precautions during the warmest period of the year. Here is a run-through of some of the greatest risks encountered by prolonged exposure to the sun. As well as the risks, we have outlined how to remedy them.

Preventing sunburn

We have all been there at least once. You are enjoying the sensation of the sun beating down on you. You tell yourself that you will apply sun cream in a few minutes but, by the time you do apply it, you have already started burning.

Sunburn is very dangerous and can lead to a variety of health complications, including extreme pain, nausea, skin damage, accelerated ageing and even cancer.

Take preventative measures before leaving your home by applying sun cream. If you are caring for a physically vulnerable person, cover all of their exposed skin with a high-factor sunblock. And be mindful to repeat this throughout the day. Wearing a baseball cap is a convenient way to prevent burning to the head. Staying in the shade where possible is also strongly advised. Be vigilant and take responsibility for those in your care by minimising their exposure time.

Make sure you rehydrate

It is recommended that we drink between eight to ten glasses of water a day to remain hydrated. This figure goes up on warm days as we lose vital fluids to perspiration.

Dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to constipation and fever in some cases, while escalating towards migraines, fainting and possible hospitalisation in other instances.

Make sure that you and those that you care for are consistently drinking water. If leaving the house on a warm day, fill up a large container of cold water and make sure you have the funds to purchase bottled water, or isotonic drinks, if your own supply runs out. If walking, take regular breaks and always be on the lookout for a place to rest in the shade.

Heat exhaustion

While drinking plenty of fluids and consistently applying sunblock are both effective actions in your bid to stave off the worst effects of the sun, heat exhaustion could still strike.

If you or a loved one struggles to get around on a mild day due to decreased motility, it is best advised to minimise all movements on the warmest of days. If you can be transported from point A to point B without breaking sweat, even better.

The bottom line here is simple: some people are not equipped to thrive in the heat and are better off in the shade, or staying indoors entirely. Heat exhaustion is characterised by excessive sweating and a rapid pulse. This comes about as a direct result of the body overheating. Remain cautious by observing if the person in your care is perspiring excessively and be ready to help them cool down.

Combat heatstroke

Even more extreme and more dangerous than heat exhaustion, heatstroke often results in hospitalisation. Like the previously mentioned conditions, heatstroke arises from over-exposure to high temperatures and often occurs as a direct follow-on from a failure to correctly remedy the symptoms of heat exhaustion.

It is vital that immediate action is taken to lower the body temperature of somebody suffering from heatstroke. This can include removing clothing and placing the affected person under a cold shower. However, if you suspect that someone you care for is suffering from heatstroke, your first act should be to contact the emergency services.

Prevention is key

While it is crucial to act fast when you or someone you care for falls ill with a heat- or sun-related condition, the reality is that you should do all in your power to lessen the probability of being faced with such a predicament. Stay vigilant by preemptively identifying the dangers posed by warm weather.

By practicing three key principles – hydration, application of sun cream and limiting exposure time – the likelihood is that you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy the warm weather free from the fear of falling ill.

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call 0333 331 3770

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