THE MET Office has issued its first ever amber weather warning for ‘extreme heat’ across Bromsgrove district and South Birmingham.
Experts predict temperatures will continue to soar throughout the day, peaking at 30°C this afternoon.
They warn it could lead to adverse health effects being experienced, particularly to the vulnerable, including children and older people.
The wider population are at risk of sunburn and heat exhaustion – such as dehydration, nausea, fatigue and other heat-related illnesses.
Some changes in working practices and daily routines are likely to be needed and there is an increased chance systems and equipment – if sensitive to heat – could fail, leading to potential power cuts and loss of other services to homes and businesses.
Delays to road, rail and air travel are possible with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays.
General key tips for staying safe in the sun:
· Use sun cream – apply before you go out into the sun and reapply every two hours
· Wear suitable clothing – a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved top if you are susceptible to sun burn
· Reduce exposure to direct sunlight during certain times of the day – ideally between 11am – 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its strongest
· Keep your home as cool as possible – shading windows and shutting them during the day can help and open them when it is cooler at night
· Make sure to drink plenty of fluids – keep hydrated. Although, this doesn’t include alcohol – this can dehydrate you.
It is also important look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions, as they are at greater risk of further complications as the weather gets hotter.
If you feel unwell or have any concerns about your sunburn, particularly if you are burnt over a large area, have blistering or swelling of the skin, chills, dizziness, sickness or a high temperature, you can get help from 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 – available 24 hours a day.
Also look after your animals
The Blue Cross offers the following advice for pet owners –
Dogs in hot cars
Dogs should never be left in hot cars as they can succumb to heatstroke quickly. They cannot sweat in the same way people do and consequently cannot keep cool as easily.
Never leave a dog in a hot car, even for a moment. ‘Not long’ is too long.
Anyone who sees a dog in distress inside a car should dial 999 immediately and ask for the police. A dog in distress in a hot car is an emergency and the police will advise you what to do based on the situation.
Depending on the severity of the situation, the police may attend and break into the car to gain access to the dog, or they may advise you to do this. If you decide to break into a car without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and you may need to defend your actions in a court.
Call the police using 999 and tell them what you intend to do and why. Take pictures and/or videos of the dog in distress and the names and phone numbers of witnesses.
The Criminal Damage Act 1971 provides a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (under section 5(2)(a).
Dogs and cats
Pale-coloured dogs and cats are vulnerable to sunburn – particularly their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer which may require extensive surgery – even amputation in severe cases.
The best prevention is to keep your pet indoors when the sun is strongest, between 11am and 3pm. Alternatively, cover vulnerable areas, or regularly apply a sunblock product specifically for pets that doesn’t contain zinc oxide or PABA. Seek prompt veterinary advice if your dog or cat’s skin looks sore, crusty or scaly.
Your pet needs access to clean water at all times, ideally in a large bowl filled to the brim. Older animals, particularly cats, are vulnerable to dehydration. Don’t forget your dog needs fresh water.
A tangle-free coat will protect your pet’s delicate skin and keep them cool. Some animals may need their coats trimming – seek advice from a professional groomer.
Rabbits and other small animals
Flystrike (myiasis) is a nasty condition that occurs when flies lay their eggs on or near rabbits.
These hatch into maggots and then feed on the rabbit – causing pain, severe shock, and often death.
It’s essential owners check your outdoor rabbits – and house rabbits – at least twice a day to make sure they’re clean and free from anything that may attract flies.
Keep hutches clean and dry, and disinfect them at least once a week.
Repellents such as ‘Rearguard’ may help protect your rabbit. If you find any maggots on or near your rabbit contact your vet immediately.
Ensure horses have access to a shady area in the field, and are protected from flies.
Long manes and tails are a natural fly defence, but if horses have a pulled mane and forelock then use a fly fringe or mask – watch out for rubbing though.
Owners may also want to buy a fine-mesh anti-fly rug and a good quality fly repellent.
Horse owners should monitor their animal’s weight all year, but be extra vigilant over the summer when there is plenty of grass.
Use a weigh tape and keep a weekly chart. If you notice a weight gain then restrict grazing hours and/or use a well-fitted muzzle for short periods.
If your horse is eating hard feed, consider reducing it or cutting it out.