It's hot hot hot ... and Public Health England is urging people to take extra care in this spell of warm weather. There's specific advice for people fasting during the month of Ramadan.
People are being advised:
- Stay out of the heat
- Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
- If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear a hat.
- Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening
Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine or drinks high in sugar. If drinking fruit juice, dilute it with water. Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content. and when travelling ensure you take water with you
- Keep your environment cool: keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with long-term health conditions or anyone who cannot look after themselves
• Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun, closed during the day. External shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective but cheaper and easier to install. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider placing reflective material between them and the window space
- Open windows at night if it feels cooler outside, although be aware of security issues - especially in ground floor rooms. Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun.
- Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
- Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
- Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C
- Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a long-term medical condition or taking multiple medications and have unusual symptoms.
- If you or others feel unwell, seek medical advic
- If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee.
There is much we can all do to look after other people too:
- Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool. Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave. Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is neede
- Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°
- Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars.
If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, for example after sustained exercise during very hot weather), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. We say that most people should start to recover within 30mins and if not, they should seek medical help. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist.
Many members of the Muslim community may be fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.
It is common for people to have one meal just before sunrise and an evening meal after sunset during Ramadan. During hot weather, dehydration is a common and serious risk. It is important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water.
If you start to feel unwell, disoriented or confused, or collapse or faint, advice is to stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid. This is especially important for older adults, those with poorly controlled medical conditions such as low/high blood pressure, diabetes and those who are receiving dialysis treatment
The Muslim Council of Britain has confirmed that breaking fast in such conditions is allowable under Islamic law. Also make sure to check on others in the community who may be at greater risk and keep an eye on children to ensure they are having a safe and healthy Ramadan. More information is available here.
Guidance has been produced to help ensure that members of the Muslim community. The Guide to healthy fasting in Ramadan has been produced in association with the NHS