Heatwave sees number of ambulance call outs increase

The current heatwave affecting the UK has meant that ambulance services throughout the country have experienced a significant rise in their number of call outs, with the London Ambulance Service seeing a 20% increase in 999 calls categorised as life-threatening.

The heat poses a considerable threat to those who are more vulnerable, notably older people, babies, children, people with mental health problems, chronic conditions and those on certain medication.

Apart from the conventional conditions associated with high temperatures such as dehydration and sunburn, hot weather can exacerbate existing heart and respiratory problems, and can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke.

As part of an effort to create awareness of the health risks associated with hot weather, NHS England has issued a number of tips in the hope of reducing the number of medical emergencies. Among these tips, it has been advised that the sun should be avoided during the hottest part of the day, appropriate levels of sun cream should be applied, and sufficient fluids should be taken on board.

In other services, London’s Fire Brigade have announced their highest number of grass fires since 2006.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 23 July 2013.

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