Look out for each other during the heatwave and rising Covid cases

Residents across West Yorkshire are urged to take precautions and look out for each other during the heatwave and as COVID cases rise

Summer events and social gatherings are returning as part of our lives, but COVID transmission rates are rising sharply in West Yorkshire. The numbers of people with COVID in hospital beds are now greater than during the previous wave, our social care sector is under huge pressure, and we should remain cautious warns West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP).

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Director of Public Health for Kirklees Council and Public Health Lead for WY HCP said: “Our NHS and social care system is under pressure, especially with extremely hot weather alongside increasing rates of COVID. But there are a few simple things we can all do to help. Being cautious about mixing with groups of people if you’re feeling unwell is a good way of stopping the spread. Those other basic steps, like keeping rooms well ventilated and good hand hygiene, will also help. Above all, being up to date with your jabs is the best way you can protect yourself and our health service. It’s never too late to get protected”.

Information about how to get your COVID-19 vaccination can be found at nhs.uk and via the NHS App. Whether it’s a first, second or a booster dose no appointment is necessary – visit www.nhs.uk for a walk-in site near you.

The Met Office has also issued an amber weather warning for extreme heat from Sunday 17 July and WY HCP are reminding everyone to be sun smart and to choose health and care services wisely.

The main risks posed by a heatwave are not drinking enough water, overheating – which can make symptoms worse for people with heart or breathing problems – and heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Rob Webster CBE, CEO Lead for WY HCP said: ‘The consequences of a heatwave can affect anyone, including older people, and those who live on their own or in a care home, people who have a long-term health condition, babies and the very young. Please check-in on your vulnerable neighbours across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield District to make sure they are following the advice and stay well during the heatwave. If you do become unwell it is important that you get the right care in the right place.  Please choose the best service for your needs across West Yorkshire. If you have a medical problem and aren’t sure what to do visit 111.nhs.uk’.

For more information on summer health advice visit  Seasonal advice – NHS – Together We Can (togetherwe-can.com)  https://togetherwe-can.com/seasonaladvice/

Families can also visit Healthier Together, a free website developed by local healthcare professionals to help parents and carers keep their children safe and healthy. It has a wide range of information and is available by visiting https://www.wyhealthiertogether.nhs.uk/

The team behind the website have ensured the online advice complements local advice given across health and care services. Information has been reviewed by local paediatricians, GPs, community pharmacists, health visitors and other professionals across the region to ensure it is the most current, and up to date information available.

It also offers practical advice on whether a child should go to nursery or school if unwell, along with advice on keeping children safe, well and in good general health.

Message from Debs Harkins and Jackie Addison regarding the hot weather spells

Message from Debs Harkins, Director of Public Health and Jackie Addison, Head of Human Resources and Occupational DevelopmentYou will be aware that the Met Office has an Amber Extreme heat warning in place until at least Tuesday, which is likely to affect everyone, not just those most vulnerable to extreme heat. There is a prediction that temperatures could reach up to 38 degrees in Halifax.This situation could lead to extreme issues for our health and care services, already under pressure because of the impact of the current Covid-19 wave. Travel companies are already advising not to travel on Tuesday in Yorkshire. In view of this we are now recommending that staff who can work at home should do so tomorrow. We are aware that there are a number of staff who work outside. For these staff we have restocked on safety sunglass and hats and all depots have stocks of sun cream and access to cold water. We have also produced this safety bulletin which went out to all managers yesterday and is in all depots today. Managers have been asked to consider the tasks that are planned for today and tomorrow and team leaders will be checking in on teams during the day. If you are unable to work from home, please familiarise yourselves with who the First Aiders are in your workplaces BEFORE they are required. If staff wish to take holiday (annual leave, flexi or lieu time) to cope with the situation, please ensure you seek approval from your managers and service permitting, flexibility will be given. Suez are have also bought their rounds forward to 6:30am starts, so they can finish them before the temperatures get too high, but will also be closely monitoring the situation throughout the day. As a reminder, the NHS website has lots of information on summer health advice. Families can also visit Healthier Together website for advice on keeping your children safe and healthy. The following graphic offers information on the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency, requiring urgent medical attention by calling 999. Heat exhaustion can usually be managed by colling down through:

  • moving to a cool place such as an air-conditioned building, the shade or in front of a fan
  • Drinking cool fluids – stick to water or sports drinks
  • Spraying or sponging your skin with cool water
  • Loosen clothing

Please stay safe over the coming days and if you have to go outside in the extreme heat, wear a sun hat and sunglasses and even in cooler weather, it’s important to put on plenty of suncream.