HSE appeal to help elderly in hot weather

HSE warns people to walk on the shady side of the street and to check on neighbours

People taking to the beach in Bray Co Wicklow today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

People taking to the beach in Bray Co Wicklow today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES


Temperatures passed early to mid 20s Celsius at all Met Éireann weather stations this lunchtime (except Malin Head, Co Donegal where it was only 15 degrees) and further rises are expected , with weekend levels of up to 29 degrees.

Much of the island is already officially in drought with the HSE advising the situation is “rapidly approaching the point where it becomes problematic”.

Elderly people have been advised to stay out of the afternoon sun, and the HSE has asked that neighbours check on the aged, infirm and parents or guardians do not leave the very young out in the sunshine for extended periods.

Dr Kevin Kelleher of the Health Protection and Health Promotion units of the HSE advised those out in the midday and afternoon sun to walk on the shady side of the street where possible to avoid sunburn.

A number of local authorities have asked consumers to conserve water supplies and while Dublin City Council said demand is currently exceeding production, stocks of water at reservoirs are good and not a cause of immediate concern. The authority said restrictions may be avoided if households refrain from activities like watering the lawn or washing cars.

In Cork, water shortages have already been reported in Freemount, Kildorrery and Allow Water schemes with Dunmanway, Clonakilty and Robert’s Cove are also experiencing increased consumption.

Traffic on all roads out of the main cities started building earlier this morning, according to the AA which has advised motorists tar is melting on many roads making driving conditions hazardous. Coastal and inland waterways are expected to be very busy this weekend placing additional demand on water supplies.

From 10pm tonight the M1 Dublin to Belfast motorway will close between Junction 14 Ardee and Junction 16 Dundalk East, until 4pm on Saturday. Northbound traffic will be diverted via the N33 Ardee Road and N52 Ardee/Dundalk Road. There will also be minor resurfacing works southbound after the M1 toll plaza.

In Cork, traffic management is in place on the South Ring Road eastbound at the Bandon Road roundabout until Wednesday. There has been a change to the road layout on the South Ring Road at the Sarsfield roundabout. In Galway road works will take place on the Barna / Salthill Road (R336) near Barna National School until Friday next and significant delays are expected.

Met Éireann said Saturday will be another sunny and very warm day with highs generally in the mid to high twenties with just a slight risk of isolated thunderstorms later. However heavy or thundery showers are likely in parts of Munster and Connacht from around noon on Sunday. These showers will extend into west Ulster on Sunday night. Temperatures will be down slightly on previous days and will range from 21 to 27 degrees with light easterly breezes. It will be coolest in the east.

The weather will continue to be very warm or hot through next week with a lot of dry weather and a risk of thundery showers . Daytime temperatures will reach between 25 and 29 degrees and possibly reaching 30 degrees in parts of the midlands at times. The nights will be very mild and close with lowest temperatures of 14 to 18 degrees. Winds will be light and from a mainly easterly direction.

Malin Head recorded the coolest temperature among Met Éireann sites today with temperatures rising to just 15 degrees by mid day.

According to the advice from the HSE people should treat the heat wave in much the same way as they tread cold spells, making sure vulnerable neighbours are protected.

The HSE also warned Many prescription medicines can reduce tolerance of heat and patients should take extra care to keep cool.

HSE advice during hot weather

* Danger symptoms to watch out for in hot weather include: feeling faint and dizzy, short of breath, vomiting or increasing confusion. Take immediate action if danger symptoms of heatstroke are present: Cool down as quickly as possible. However do not take aspirin or paracetamol - this can make you worse. Do however carry on taking all other prescribed medicines. Seek further advice from a doctor, or ring 999 if the person has collapsed.

* Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).

* Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.

If you or others feel unwell

* Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature.

* Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.

* Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular cramps (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes.

* Seek medical attention as needed if heat cramps last more than one hour.

* Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.

* Contact your doctor or a pharmacist if you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.

* Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping.

* If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.