People in the town are being warned to be prepared after weather forecasters predicted a heatwave this weekend.
The Met Office has warned that Swindon and the South West has a 60% chance of having heatwave conditions from Friday 12 July until 8pm on Sunday 14 July) with temperatures expected to peak on Saturday at 28 degrees centigrade.
The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. These include:
• Older people, especially those over 75.
• Babies and young children.
• People with serious mental health problems.
• People on certain medication.
• People with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems.
• People who already have a high temperature from an infection.
• People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs.
• People with mobility problems.
• People who are physically active, like manual workers and athletes.
Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health team is urging people to prevent dehydration and sun stroke, particularly among vulnerable older people and babies/young children.
During the hot weather, babies, children or elderly people should not be left alone in stationary cars.
It is advisable to check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave and to also be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.
Those most at risk of dehydration should keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, but if people have to go out they are advised to walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf. Strenuous physical exertion should also be avoided and people should wear light, loose fitting clothes.
People can cool themselves down by having plenty of cold drinks and avoiding excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks. Eating cold foods such as salads and fruit, which have a high water content, is also beneficial.
Taking cool showers or baths and keeping a damp cloth on the back of your neck are also good ways of keeping cool during the hot weather.
It is especially important to keep living spaces cool, particularly for children and the elderly. Windows that receive morning or afternoon sun should be closed and the curtains drawn to keep temperatures down. But windows should be opened at night to let cooler air in.
Non-essential lights and electrical equipment should be turned off as they generate heat, while if possible it may be beneficial moving into a cooler room for sleeping.
Cherry Jones, Acting Director of Public Health at Swindon Borough Council, said: “Most of us look forward to the hot weather but if it gets too hot there are health risks. It is important to enjoy the sun and the hot weather safely by taking the right precautions.
“I would also encourage people to look out for the very young and the older members of our community who are less able to protect themselves against the risks of the hot weather.”
For more advice and information visit: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx