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Autumn heatwave: Protect yourself and your ambulance service

THE Welsh Ambulance Service is urging the public to take precautions ahead of the autumn heatwave forecast for this week.

Temperatures in Wales are set to hit 28°C tomorrow with a warm spell likely to last at least through the early part of the week.

Warm weather generates an increase in calls to people with breathing difficulties, so the Trust is asking the public to take extra precautions to prevent falling ill.

Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “We had 4,316 calls to 999 over the weekend, which is roughly one call every 40 seconds.

“Extremely high levels of demand continue today, so we need the public’s help to ensure that the pressures we face are not exacerbated by the weather.

“Hot weather means your body has to work harder to keep its core temperature to normal levels, and this puts extra strain on your heart, lungs and kidneys.

“This means that you can be at greater risk if you have a pre-existing heart or respiratory condition, like asthma or angina.

“It’s really important to keep cool and stay hydrated, and if you’re out and about, please look after yourself and those with you.

“If you do fall victim to the sun, take one of our NHS 111 Wales symptom checkers for bites and stings, breathing difficulties, hay fever and sunburn – it’ll help you determine the best course of action.”

The Trust has also seen an increase in the number Covid-19 related calls for the fourth consecutive week – from 237 calls the week commencing 09 August 2021 to 293 calls last week, the week commencing 30 August 2021.

Inevitably this has meant that more of its staff are off work too – 122 (four per cent) road and control room colleagues as of Monday.

As Wales enters a new school year, the Trust is asking the public to continue to take precautions to stop the spread of the virus.

Lee said: “With the re-opening of schools comes increased interactions, so it’s important that the public continue to play their part to halt a further spread.

“The Covid-19 vaccine remains the best line of defence to protect yourself and others and also helps to reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19.”

Protecting yourself in the heat

· Drink lots of water – it’s important to keep hydrated as you lose more fluid than you take in during hotter temperatures

· Keep out of the sun – it’s best to stay in the shade between 11am-3pm when the sun is at its hottest

· Wear sun cream and sunglasses – apply a sun cream of at least factor 30 that includes UVA protection and make sure your sunglasses have UV protection lenses

· Loose clothing – wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes along with a hat

· Look out for others – keep a check on those vulnerable to the effects of heat, especially the elderly, young children and babies and those who have a heart or respiratory condition such as asthma

· Never leave babies, young children or animals in a parked vehicle – temperatures can soar very quickly in a parked car, and children under two are particularly at risk of getting heatstroke or heat exhaustion

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