Take a cool look at heatwave ‘emergencies’ says ambulance service

Keep cool and avoid heatwave emergencies
Keep cool and avoid heatwave emergencies
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Take care in the heat and if it gets too much, think before dialling 999, the East of England Ambulance Service Trust has asked.

Since Monday, the trust has responded to 25 calls to people who have collapsed whilst out in direct sunlight and to children and adults suffering the effects of sunburn and heat exhaustion.

Oskan Edwardson, associate director of special operations said: “A heatwave is obviously a good thing for us to enjoy, but as an ambulance service we have to prepare for some of the consequences it can have for our operations.

“We are asking the public to think twice about dialling 999 for an ambulance when they get sunburn or are suffering the effects of the heat.

“Our highly skilled control room staff and clinicians will triage each heat related call and if it’s deemed non-life threatening, alternative care pathways advice will be given. If the call is of a life threatening nature, a blue light response will be dispatched to the call.”

The trust says the public can help the ambulance service to respond to those who really need emergency care the most by only calling 999 in a genuine emergency.

However, the trust points that you should not ignore the effects of heat. In a severe heatwave the body can overheat and dehydrate, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms include, headaches, nausea, an intense thirst, lethargy, hot red and dry skin, a sudden rise in temperature, confusion, aggression, convulsions and a loss of consciousness

Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated but can also occur suddenly and without warning, the trust says.

Heatstroke can become a point of no return when the body’s thermoregulation mechanism fails. It then becomes a medical emergency, with symptoms of confusion, disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness, hot dry skin and core body temperature exceeding 40ºC.

For simple advice about the heat, please call 111 or get advice from your GP especially if you have heart or respiratory problems.

Advice can also be found on the Met Office website

The Met Office says the weekend weather will be slightly cooler in the east than in the last few days, but still warm, and temperatures will be back in the high 20s on Monday and rising into the 30s from Tuesday onwards, with a risk of thunder later in the week.