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Age Scotland urges Highland residents to check older neighbours and relatives during hot summer temperatures

By Philip Murray

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Temperature records for July could be broken in parts of the British Isles later this week.
Temperature records for July could be broken in parts of the British Isles later this week.

HIGHLANDERS have been urged to check on older neighbours, family and friends who may be more at risk of health problems as the temperature soars.

The Met Office has predicted that Thursday could be the hottest day on record in Britain, while the mercury is expected to hit 28C in parts of Scotland.

On Tuesday temperatures in the Highlands reached 27C.

While many people are enjoying the balmy weather, Age Scotland is warning that older people and those with health conditions should be especially careful.

Hot weather can exacerbate existing health issues, such as heart and lung conditions, while people with reduced mobility might find it more challenging to keep cool. People living with dementia might not remember to drink enough liquids to stay hydrated or wear appropriate clothing for the weather.

Prolonged exposure to excessive heat can lead to heat exhaustion, with symptoms including headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, intense thirst, heavy sweating and a fast pulse. It can be life-threatening if untreated.

“While many of us are having fun in the sun, it’s important to remember that warm weather can present health risks, especially for older people," said Michelle Supple, director of charity services at Age Scotland.

“People with heart or lung conditions, those with reduced mobility or living with dementia can be especially vulnerable when temperatures go up. As we age, it becomes more difficult to regulate our body temperature and this can be exacerbated by some medications.

“It’s important to take simple steps to stay cool, including drinking plenty of fluids, limiting strenuous activities, and staying inside during the warmest part of the day. It’s also vital to protect your skin by using sunscreen and covering up with a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting clothes.

“We would encourage everyone to check on older neighbours, friends and family to make sure they are doing well and see if they need anything. Something as simple as helping open a window or popping to the shops to pick up some sunscreen can make a huge difference to someone’s comfort and well-being.”

Age Scotland’s tips for staying cool include:

  1. Stay cool inside during the hottest time of the day from late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out use sunscreen of factor 15 or above, wear a hat and stay in the shade if you can. Keep your house cool by keeping curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun.
  2. Limit strenuous activities like housework and gardening – most chores will keep until its cooler.
  3. Drink lots of fluid, whether you are at home or out and about. Limit caffeine and avoid alcohol as they increase the risk of dehydration.
  4. Watch what you eat. Try to have more cold foods such as salads and fruits as they contain a lot of water. Keep chilled food cold, bacteria grow quickly in warm weather. And keep hot food hot, particularly make sure barbecued food is cooked right through.
  5. Dress for the sun: light-coloured, loose cotton clothing can help you stay cool in the heat. Let your feet breathe too, wear comfortable sandals which support your feet.
  6. Cool off with cold water: a cool bath, shower or splash of water on your face can help you cool down.
  7. Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV, radio and online at www.metoffice.gov.uk.

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