Stay out of the water and stay safe in the sun

Stay out of the water and stay safe in the sun

Stay out of the water and stay safe in the sun

As Birmingham basks in the sunshine, the city council has warned people to stay out of ponds, lakes and canals across the city.

And, after the Met Office issued a heatwave warning for the West Midlands, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, has also urged people to keep an eye on elderly relatives and neighbours.

With temperatures soaring in the West Midlands, Cllr Cotton has warned people not to cool down in open water.

He said: “We want people to enjoy the sunshine but we also want them to be sensible. So the message is simple: Stay out of the water and stay safe.

“Open water may look inviting on the surface but there are often hidden dangers underneath.

“If you want to swim, we have swimming pools across Birmingham where people can swim safely and in many cases free of charge thanks to our Be Active scheme.”

Cllr Cotton has also urged people to check on elderly relatives and neighbours to ensure they are coping in the heat.

Extreme heat can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports

Top advice for being sun safe:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

Cllr Cotton added: “We all want to enjoy the sunshine but high temperatures can be dangerous, so please keep an eye on people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

“It’s important that people take sensible steps to ensure they stay safe in the sun. First of all, we’d advise people to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 – the higher the factor, the better.

“And if you’re planning a barbecue, make sure you cook food thoroughly at a barbecue to avoid food poisoning.”