Sweltering temperatures across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have prompted calls from local health officials for people to enjoy the sun sensibly and safely.
The advice comes amid an extremely busy time for the local health and care system.
Frontline teams in hospitals and GP practices, as well as NHS colleagues working in the community are experiencing a sustained level of intense demand from people for health and care services, which has been exacerbated by the recent rise in cases of Covid-19.
Local health leaders are asking people across the region to play their part in helping to combat the pressures by taking small, easy actions, including treating minor conditions at home, having all recommended doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and not visiting friends and family in hospital when feeling unwell.
Following these simple steps not only helps to offset any additional demand brought on by the warm weather, but also supports already-stretched local teams to concentrate on treating patients most in need of their care.
Dr Steve Haig, Consultant Emergency Physician and Deputy Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our urgent and emergency care services are currently extremely busy, and we expect the high number of patients attending hospital will only increase throughout the week as the weather continues to get warm.
“Please be sensible when out in the sun, by wearing sun cream, sitting in shade and staying hydrated with lots of water.
“This will help to reduce your risks of sun-related health conditions, such as heat stroke or sunburn, and will also help to reduce the number of people needing to attend hospital.”
A well-stocked medicine cabinet at home, containing essential items, such as paracetamol, digital thermometers, anti-diarrhea tablets and oral rehydration sachets, can ensure families have everything they need to manage minor conditions safely and effectively without having to go out.
For situations when a bit of extra help is required, people should visit their local pharmacy first, or check their symptoms using the online NHS 111 service.
These alternative healthcare options, which can be used without an appointment, can provide rapid access to advice on care and treatment and, where necessary, details of other local services that may be of further help.
Elsewhere, the Covid-19 vaccine continues to be available locally for those in need of a first or second booster dose, as well as for any person who has not yet had any form of vaccination.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “The NHS belongs to us all and, as such, we all have a part to play in making sure it is able to be there for those most in need.
“At this busy time, the support of our public is massively appreciated, and even the simplest gestures, such as not going into hospital as a visitor when feeling unwell and showing kindness to busy health and care teams, have the ability to make a real difference.”
More information about health and care services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is available at http://www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.