Nurses and other healthcare professionals should ensure that patients are adequately informed about the risks of the current heatwave in England, PHE has said.
Nurses and other healthcare professionals are being urged to read PHE's Heatwave Plan for England, in order to minimise the risks associated with high temperatures. It recommends that district nurses identify vulnerable patients and support them by providing heatwave information, while school nurses and health visitors can educate parents on the importance of fluid intake, reducing children's sun exposure, and diving into cold water if a child is swimming. Practice and community nurses can help to ensure that pregnant women, the elderly, children, and those with serious illnesses such as COPD and cardiovascular disease, as well as 'hard to reach' groups, are aware of the dangers of the heat.
Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at PHE, said: 'Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it's important to look out for them, help them stay hydrated with plenty of cool drinks, and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.
The Met Office has declared a level two heat-health alert in all areas of England except the North eastern region. This means that there is a greater than 60% chance that temperatures will be high enough to have a significant effect on public health over two days and the intervening night.
Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at PHE, said: 'During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson's disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport.'
PHE has also highlighted the risks associated with high temperatures for Muslims who are currently fasting for Ramadan. The advice emphasises the need for adequate fluid intake and to ensure a balanced consumption of food between periods of fasting.