With temperatures soaring across Europe and weather reports suggesting temperatures could hit 41c. Check out our quick guide to surviving the Lucifer heatwave.
Know the main risks the Lucifer Heatwave poses …
- dehydration (not having enough water)
- overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Who is most at risk?
The Lucifer heatwave could affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
- those with mobility problems
- people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
- individuals who are using alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active
Coping with the Heat
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
- Stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day)
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
- Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
Spot the signs of Heat exhaustion & Heatstroke
- Heat exhaustion is where you become very hot and start to lose water or salt from your body, you will be sweating profusely and feel generally unwell
- Heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself, sweating will stop and a person’s body temperature will become dangerously high
Heatstroke is less common, but more serious. It can put a strain on the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, and can be life-threatening.
DON’T FORGET: If heat exhaustion isn’t spotted and treated early on, there’s a risk it could lead to heatstroke.
Signs and symptoms
Heat exhaustion or heatstroke can develop quickly over a few minutes, or gradually over several hours or days. Look out for the signs and symptoms
- tiredness and weakness
- feeling faint or dizzy
- a decrease in blood pressure
- a headache
- muscle cramps
- feeling and being sick
- heavy sweating
- intense thirst
- a fast pulse
- urinating less often and having much darker urine than usual
If left untreated, more severe symptoms of heatstroke can develop, including confusion, disorientation, seizures (fits) and a loss of consciousness.
What to do
If you notice that someone has signs of heat exhaustion, you should:
- get them to lie down in a cool place – such as a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
- remove any unnecessary clothing to expose as much of their skin as possible
- cool their skin –use whatever you have available, such as a cool, wet sponge or flannel, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap them in a cool, wet sheet
- fan their skin while it’s moist – this will help the water to evaporate, which will help their skin cool down
- get them to drink fluids – this should ideally be water, fruit juice or a rehydration drink, such as a sports drink
- Stay with the person until they’re feeling better. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes.
- If the person is unconscious, you should follow the steps above and place the person in the recovery position until help arrives (see below). If they have a seizure, move nearby objects out of the way to prevent injury.
When to get medical help
Severe heat exhaustion or heatstroke requires hospital treatment.
You should call for medical help if:
- the person doesn’t respond to the above treatment within 30 minutes
- the person has severe symptoms, such as a loss of consciousness, confusion or seizures
- Continue with the steps above until medical help arrives.
For more information on First Aid or to book on a course click here.