A top emergency doctor has urged people to check on frail and elderly relatives and neighbours as high temperatures look set to return across the south this weekend.
Dr Diana Hulbert, a consultant in emergency medicine at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said recent hot conditions have led to a “steady rise” in the number of older people requiring admission to hospital.
She spoke out following Met Office warnings the heatwave across the south and east of England could continue until mid-August, with temperatures of up to 30C possible this weekend.
“Last weekend we saw and needed to admit a large number of frail older people purely as a result of dehydration and that follows a steady rise we have seen developing in recent weeks,” explained Dr Hulbert.
“The issue is that temperatures look set to remain very high in the south in the coming weeks and we are anticipating more of the same.
“Anything people can do to help their frail and elderly relatives and neighbours will help, such as checking on them daily, ensuring they remain cool and well hydrated and have people to contact nearby if they begin to feel unwell.”
Dr Hulbert said although elderly people are among the most at risk during sustained hot weather, staff in the emergency department are also treating dehydration in a range of ages as a result of too long in the sun.
“Alongside the elderly, we are seeing many people of a variety of ages who either spend all day working outside during the week or at their leisure over the weekend," she said.
“Again, this is leading mainly to dehydration but also exhaustion and problems can range from faints and falls to acute kidney injury, while for those with existing medical conditions it can exacerbate their symptoms.”
Follow Public Health England’s hot weather health warnings information page for the latest updates and advice.
Posted on Friday 20 July 2018