Ambulance Service’s heatwave advice for Londoners

Londoners are being urged to take extra care in the sun as the current heatwave continues this week.

The London Ambulance Service’s control room took in excess of 9,500 calls over the weekend—a combination of the hot weather and the highs, and then the lows, of the World Cup which saw football fans drowning their sorrows.

There was a particular increase in the number of patients reported to either be fainting or unconscious—up a massive 41 per cent on the previous weekend—as well as those suffering from difficulty in breathing (up 11 per cent on the previous Saturday and Sunday).

With the high temperatures set to continue for at least the next few days, the Department of Health has already issued a heatwave warning, and the Service would echo some common sense advice that may help prevent Londoners becoming casualties of the sunshine:

  • Some people are more at risk from the heat than others—for example, older people, babies and young children, and people with any pre-existing medical problems that can affect their breathing.
  • Try to keep as cool as possible—wear a hat when sitting or working outside and use plenty of suncream.
  • If you can, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (between 11am—3pm). If you have to go out, try to stay in the shade.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid drinking alcohol in the sun.
  • Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS Direct (0845 46 47) if you are worried about your health. In an emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.

Deputy Director of Operations Russell Smith said: “The weekend was exceptionally busy for both our control room and frontline staff, and as ever our priority will continue to be to respond to patients who are seriously ill or injured.

“We would urge anyone with more minor conditions to consider other healthcare options, such as calling NHS Direct or visiting a minor injuries unit, NHS walk-in centre or local pharmacist. If they need to go to hospital for non-emergency treatment, they should use a taxi or get a lift from a friend or relative.”

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact London Ambulance Service communications department on 020 7921 5113.

More advice can be found at NHS Direct or Department of Health.