Planning for summer

The east of England is set to sizzle this summer with the highest temperatures of the year so far expected by the end of the week.

The Met Office is expecting temperatures to peak at 24C this afternoon (12th June) in parts of Essex, with the rest of region not far behind.

And with the warmer temperatures set to stay, we’ve been issuing advice to sun-lovers asking them to stay safe; in the summer we often see an increase in calls to people on coastal areas and in open water, and we’re asking people to consider other options than 999.

Heat related illnesses

With a rise in temperature, we often see an increase in calls to patients with specific heat related illnesses. Some to be aware of include:

  • heat cramps – caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes, often following exercise
  • heat rash – small, red, itchy papules
  • heat oedema – mainly in the ankles, due to vasodilatation and retention of fluid
  • heat syncope – dizziness and fainting due to dehydration, vasodilatation, cardiovascular disease and certain medications
  • heat exhaustion – this occurs as a result of water or sodium depletion, with non-specific features of malaise, vomiting and circulatory collapse, and is present when the core temperature is between 37ºC and 40ºC. Left untreated, heat exhaustion may evolve into heatstroke.
  • heat stroke –where the body’s thermoregulation mechanism fails. This leads to a medical emergency, with symptoms of confusion, disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness, hot dry skin, and core body temperature exceeding 40ºC for between 45 minutes and eight hours. In extreme cases it can result in cell death, organ failure, brain damage or death.

Please refer to your JRCALC Clinical Practice Guidelines and Clinical Manual for more information.

Looking after yourself

We know that working a long shift in the heat is hard work, especially when wearing a uniform, carrying equipment and moving patients.

Please take the time to make sure you’re set for the warm weather as well; drink plenty of water and re-fill bottles when you have the chance, wear sun-cream in case you’re attending an incident outside, and have sunglasses on hand for driving in bright conditions.

If you’re in a Trust building like EOC or are on a vehicle with air conditioning, check it’s working properly and notify estates or fleet respectively if you notice any problems.

Please also make sure that, even though it’s hot, stations and depots aren’t left with windows and doors open when no one from the Trust is on site.

We will be using #999summer on Twitter all summer. Follow @EastEnglandAmb to get involved in discussions and advice.

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