Staying safe and cool in the Sussex sun

Fun in the Sussex sun.
Fun in the Sussex sun.

Much of Sussex is set to experience heatwave conditions from today (June 30).

But the soaring temperatures could pose a risk to health, increasing the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Children, young babies and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Public Health England has issued advice on how people can stay safe in the high temperatures:

• Try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.

• Protect against sunburn and use on sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection.

• Wear sunglasses with UV protection to prevent damage to your eyes.

• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and a hat to keep cool.

• Quench a thirst and drink plenty of cold fluids. If you feel dizzy or develop a headache try and rehydrate, using rehydration sachets from a pharmacy if necessary.

• Do not do too much exercise - use the hot weather as an excuse to take a day off.

• Never leave anyone or an animal in a closed, parked car.

• Keep your house airy - close curtains when the sun is shining and open windows during cooler parts of the day and at night. Turning off non-essential lights and electrical items will also help lower the temperature.

• St John Ambulance advises anyone who feels unwell during the hot weather to get somewhere cool and rehydrated as soon as possible, and see a doctor if this does not help.

There is an 80% chance of temperatures reaching 31°C during the day and 16°C overnight between 12pm today (Tuesday) and 6am on Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to build on Tuesday and into Wednesday. There is still some uncertainty regarding peak temperature values on these two days, however the highest maximum temperature is expected on Wednesday.

SECAMB are warning that heat stroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. The service advises that if you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke call 999 immediately.

SECAMB also say that while waiting for the ambulance you should follow the instructions given to you by the ambulance call taker. The following can also help someone suffering from heat stroke:

If possible, move the person somewhere cooler.

Increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan.

Cool the patient down as quickly as possibly by loosening their clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet.

If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink.

Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol.

Vets are warning pet owners to be aware of the problems a heatwave can cause cats, dogs and other pets.

Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Hot and even warm weather can cause real problems for our pets.

“Most people know not to leave pets in cars on a warm or hot day, but not everyone is aware that conservatories or caravans can be just as bad with temperatures rising dangerously high, quicker than you might think.

“Even when it feels relatively mild outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach up to 130 degrees in less than 30 minutes.

“And while most people think about dogs and cats, we must also help our pet rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets keep safe in the summer heat.”

To help owners provide the best welfare for their pets during hot weather, Vets4Pets has issued some simple tips to help pets enjoy, rather than endure, summer.

Cats and Dogs

· Make sure cats and dogs have plenty of fresh, cold water available at all times

· Check and top up at least twice a day and consider leaving water in more than one place so they are never too far from a bowl. Putting ice cubes in the bowl will keep the water nice and cool and encourage them to drink more

· When pets are outdoors, make sure they always have access to shade

· Use pet sun block to protect any areas not protected by fur like tips of ears and noses, especially white ones

· Walk your dogs either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day

· Consider having pets with long fur clipped to make them more comfortable during the hot weather

· Watch out for signs of heatstroke and call your vet straight away for advice if concerned. Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and anxious behaviour, dark red gums and a rapid heart rate

What to do if you suspect heatstroke:

1. Call your vet straight away

2. Take your pet somewhere cooler and shower them with cool water, especially around their head and neck

3. Do not use ice cold water as this will reduce their temperature too quickly

4. Allow them to drink as much as they want but in small quantities at a time

5. Use a fan to increase airflow to help the cooling and vigorously massage their legs to help maintain the blood flow

Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets

· Always make sure pets have access to shade

· Hutch roofs should be solid in order to keep the sun off and runs should also have shady covered areas too. Just remember that as the sun moves throughout the day the shade will move too, so keep an eye out for that

· Move indoor cages out of direct sunlight into a cooler part of the house

· Keep clean fresh water topped up regularly, checking it at least twice a day

· Don’t forget the danger of flystrike in rabbits and check their bottoms at least twice a day in this weather when so many flies are about

· Rabbits and guinea pigs are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke so take extra care of them in warmer weather. Signs of heatstroke in small mammals including lethargy, drooling and shallow rapid breathing

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