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heatwaveenglandlevel2UPDATED: A level 2 ‘alert and readiness’ heatwave warning has been issued by the Met Office as temperatures are set to soar by the middle of the week bringing the hottest days of the year so far.

Weather forecasters say there is an 80% chance of heatwave conditions between between midday tomorrow (Tuesday) and 06:00 on Thursday morning in many parts of England, including on the Isle of Wight.

Temperatures are expected to build throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday, with the hottest day of the year so far expected on successive days this working week. There is still some uncertainty regarding peak temperature values on these two days, however the highest maximum temperature is expected on Wednesday.

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[alert-warning]Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease. Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from NHS Choices at, NHS 111 or from your local chemist.[/alert-warning]

UPDATE TUESDAY: With this week’s heatwave, St John Ambulance is issuing some vital first aid advice to help keep people safe.

Clive James, Training Officer at St John Ambulance, says:

“Extreme heat can be dangerous, particularly for the very young and old, but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs and potentially be the difference between life and death in an emergency.

“Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars so it’s essential that people can spot the signs, such as headache and dizziness, and get them somewhere cool and rehydrated as soon as possible”.

Treating dehydration:

• Help the person to sit down and give them plenty of water to drink.

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• Giving them an oral rehydration solution to drink will help replace salt and other minerals which they’ve lost – you can buy this in sachets from any pharmacy.

• If they have any painful cramps, encourage them to rest, help them stretch and massage their muscles that hurt.

• Keep checking how they’re feeling – if they still feel unwell once they’re rehydrated then encourage them to see a doctor straight away.

Treating Sunburn

• First, cover their skin with lightweight clothing and move them out of the sun and into the shade, or indoors if possible.

• Encourage them to keep taking sips of cold water.

• Cool the skin by sponging it gently with cool water, or by soaking the sore skin in a cold bath or shower for no more than ten minutes. Repeat this if it helps ease soreness.

• If the burn doesn’t blister, then it is mild. Apply calamine lotion or after-sun lotion to help soothe the skin.

• Quickly move them to a cool place and remove their outer clothing but ensure you maintain their dignity.

Treating heatstroke

• Also watch out for and treat symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which can be life threatening.

• If the burn blisters or there is other skin damage, then it is severe and they’ll need to see a doctor.

• Then call 999/112 for an ambulance.

• Wrap them in a cold wet sheet and keep pouring cold water over it until their temperature falls to at least 38°C (or 100.4°F). Measure this with a thermometer under their tongue or under their armpit.

• If you can’t find a sheet, fan them or sponge them down with cold water to keep them cool.

• Once their temperature seems to have gone back to normal, replace the wet sheet with a dry sheet.

• While waiting for help to arrive, keep checking their temperature, as well as their breathing, pulse and level of response.

• If they start getting hot again, repeat the cooling process to lower their temperature.

• If they lose consciousness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who’s become unconscious.

Treating blisters

• If someone has a blister, don’t burst it as this can increase the risk of infection.

• Wash the skin around the blister with clean water.

• Gently pat the skin dry with a sterile gauze pad or a clean, non-fluffy material.

• If the blister was caused by something rubbing against the skin, cover it with a plaster – ideally a special blister plaster, as these have a cushioned pad that gives extra protection.

Treating asthma attacks

• First, reassure them and ask them to breathe slowly and deeply which will help them control their breathing.

• Then help them use their reliever inhaler straight away. This should relieve the attack.

• Next, sit them down in a comfortable position.

• If it doesn’t get better within a few minutes, it may be a severe attack. Get them to take one or two puffs of their inhaler every two minutes, until they’ve had 10 puffs.

• If the attack is severe and they are getting worse or becoming exhausted, or if this is their first attack, then call 999/112 for an ambulance.

• Help them to keep using their inhaler if they need to. Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.

• If they lose consciousness at any point, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who’s become unconscious.

Meanewhile a spokesman for Isle of Wight NHS Trust said:

“While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks.  Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”

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