WITH A heatwave predicted for this week and temperatures of 30 degrees forecast, residents are being urged to look after themselves and only call 999 in an emergency.
The plea comes from West Midlands Ambulance Service which is expecting a challenging week as prolonged weather extremities always put more pressure on the emergency services.
One of the concerns is the number of calls to serious breathing problems resulting from the increasing warm conditions.
WMAS medical director, Dr Andrew Carson, said: “A prolonged heatwave poses a real danger to those patients with emphysema, asthma and long term breathing problems.
“The hot weather makes breathing difficult even for healthy individuals. That’s why we suggest people with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors as much as possible.
“It is vital that we get to these patients as quickly as possible and would therefore ask the public to assist us by only calling 999 in life threatening situations.”
Ambulance bosses have now issued a number of hints to help people stay safe during the heatwave.
They suggest – if people are out in the sun – they apply plenty of sun cream, wear a hat and loose-fitting cotton clothes. They should also avoid being out between 11am and 3pm – the hottest time of the day.
Residents should also drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated and avoid drinks which dehydrate – such as coffee, other caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
If people are going for a swim to cool down, they should do it in a proper supervised swimming pool, not in rivers and lakes as there have been too many deaths from people swimming in open water.
Those going on a long trip need to be prepared by taking enough food and drink and, where possible, break the journey up.
Bikers should wear appropriate protective clothing and those having a barbecue need to make sure they light it safely, ensure children are kept away from it and make sure the food is cooked thoroughly to avoid food poisoning.