St Albans locals warned about heat as more seek A & E help at Watford Hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:31 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:31 19 July 2013

West Herts NHS Hospitals Trusts warns St Albans residents to prepare for the continuing heat. The trust was interviewed by a television crew recently.

West Herts NHS Hospitals Trusts warns St Albans residents to prepare for the continuing heat. The trust was interviewed by a television crew recently.

Archant

ST ALBANS residents have been reminded to take care in the heat as Watford Hospital has reported an increase in accident and emergency admissions with patients suffering dehydration and heat exhaustion.

And Age UK Hertfordshire has urged older people to keep cool, cover up and drink plenty of fluids during the heatwave.

The Met Office has asked people in the region to be “alert” as temperatures are forecast to reach 28 degrees today (Friday), drop to 26 degrees tomorrow and then increase to 29 degrees on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to reach the low 30s between next Tuesday and Friday.

A spokeswoman for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust said attendance at Watford Hospital’s A & E ward had increased eight per cent over the last two weeks.

While the average daily attendance is normally around 200-230 patients, that figure has increased to 280 people a day.

She added: “Lots of patients have been attending suffering dehydration and heat exhaustion.”

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy perspiring, extreme tiredness, feeling or being sick, rapid heartbeat, mental confusion or feeling dizzy.

The hospital has put 200 extra fans on wards, distributed 1,000 bottles of water daily and hired three additional freezers to make ice. Watford’s chief nurse Jackie Ardley was interviewed by a television crew recently about the effect of the ongoing heatwave.

St Albans firefighters have also been kept busy during the warmer weather.

So far today crews have extinguished a fire on a tree stump in woods off Coursers Road, London Colney, and a fire alleged to have been deliberately lit in the open off Normandy Road.

Crew commander Daniel Cinato has reminded people to be extra careful with disposal BBQs, and when discarding cigarette butts.

Herts Fire and Rescue Service has already been called to over 100 incidents involving crops, grass and the open countryside since the start of this month, compared to 28 calls in the same period last year when the weather was cooler.

Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “The ground is very dry and in conditions like this it doesn’t take much to start a fire.”

He said people should try to avoid lighting open fires; only barbecue in areas where they are allowed; take rubbish, especially glass bottles, with them as they can magnify the sun’s rays and start fires; and never leave a fire unattended.

Mr Wilsher said smokers should ensure cigarettes are properly extinguished and thrown away safely, but not from car windows, as even the smallest flame can start a fire.

Age UK Herts’ chief executive Marion Birch has urged older people to take adequate precautions during the heatwave.

Top tips for staying cool include:

• Stay inside during the hottest time of the day (12-3pm)

• When travelling by car or public transport take a bottle of water

• Drink lots of cold drinks and avoid alcohol and caffeine

• Stay in the shade, wear sunscreen, cover up with a hat and wear loose clothes.

People particularly at risk are children under two years old, the very elderly and people with kidney, heart or circulation problems.

Call 999 if you believe someone has heatstroke.

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