Heat causes a rise in illnesses

Heat causes a rise in illnesses

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The heatwave is causing a surge in heat-related symptoms which has seen unusually high numbers of people attending the Emergency Department at Peterborough City Hospital in the past few days.

Attendances reached a peak of 330 patients yesterday (Tuesday 20 June) which is around 80 more than usual. Many of these were people who simply had not followed heatwave guidance and were suffering from the effects of sunburn, heat exposure and other heat-related issues. In addition, many of those seeking help from the hospital had to endure a long wait for treatment as the hospital is currently at full capacity. These patients would have been more appropriately advised to seek treatment from their local pharmacist, GP, walk-in centre or Minor Injuries Unit.

Gill Waltham, Operational Lead for Emergency and Urgent Care at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The heatwave advice is simple and applies to us all. Many cases seen by our Emergency Team on Tuesday could have been prevented, or more appropriately diverted to an alternative healthcare service instead of placing an extra burden on an already busy A&E. This allows our teams to focus upon those for whom the heat has exacerbated pre-existing conditions, or have genuine illnesses or injuries requiring emergency treatment.”

In addition, the Trust has reported a larger than usual number of elderly patients presenting with the effects of dehydration.  Gill added: “We have seen many instances of elderly inpatients being well enough to go home once they have been given intravenous fluids.  This is why it is so important to check on elderly relatives, friends or neighbours in this hot weather, as by ensuring they have enough to drink and follow basic heatwave advice, a trip to hospital can be avoided.”

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