Supporting you during the heatwave | Our latest updates

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Supporting you during the heatwave

The heatwave is set to put added strain on services, as we care for people who fall ill from the hot weather. Your local Wellbeing Matters team is here for you if you’re under extra pressure from the heatwave and need someone to talk to. 

Whether we work in a hospital, care home, GP surgery, clinic, office, theatre, from home or in the community; the hot weather affects all of us. Those of us working in health and social care are at an increased risk of dehydration and heat stress in a heatwave, just as the patients our teams are caring for are.  

Our local Berkshire NHS trusts and ambulance service were already struggling with rising Covid staff absences. The national heat health alert and likely increased patient numbers will add to these pressures. This may also have an impact on staff mental wellbeing, bringing added stress and difficult situations.  

If you need someone to talk to, during the heatwave or any time, Wellbeing Matters is here for you. 

Having a tough day? Get support with Wellbeing Matters 

If you work in health and social care in any role - and you live or work in Berkshire, contact us. 

 
Heatwave top tips for staff 

  • Keep hydrated. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Have a non-spill water bottle handy all day and drink little and often.  

  • Take breaks when you can. Encourage your co-workers to hydrate and take breaks too 

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. Caffeine has a diuretic effect which increases water loss and dehydration 

  • Feel fresh. Splash your face, or use a cool spray or damp cloth 

  • Keep blinds and curtains closed.  

  • Stay out of the sun. Don’t go out between 11am and 3pm unless necessary to support patients

  • Wear loose, thin clothing for work if you can. 

  • Switch off electrical appliances that don’t need to be on and can produce heat (printers, screens, chargers)


Signs of dehydration

  • Be aware of the signs of dehydration (thirst, dry mouth, dark or strong-smelling urine, urinating infrequently or in small amounts, poor concentration, muscle cramps, fainting)

  • Look out for each other, especially for signs of heat stress (confusion, looking paler and clammy, fast breathing)
     

If you need to travel to work

  • Consider the heat not just when you are in work, but also your journey to and from work. Always carry water

  • See if there are air-conditioned rooms at work that might be more comfortable, for working or breaks 

  • Over 32 degrees Celsius, tarmac on roads can melt and warp, so avoid driving if you can.  If you are driving or cycling, please be careful

  • If you need to walk outside, apply sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and walk in the shade


Protecting children and babies in the heat

 Sun and heat safety | Children Young People and Families Online Resource (berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk)


A summary of our main tips to download and share

Heatwave tips for staff summary from article as a sharable image 

Sources of tips: Berkshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust and 10 tips for nursing and care staff working in a heatwave (nursingnotes.co.uk) 

Please follow the heat safety guidance from the NHS for yourself and those you are caring for, at home and at work.