This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Senior Programme Officer for Public Health, Tim Howells for the attention of Education Professionals to share with families.
The Heatwave and Summer Preparedness Programme, overseen by Public Health England (PHE), is now operational until 15th September.
This year we have the added challenge of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many more people will be staying at home this summer, due to shielding or self-isolation, and potentially be exposed to high indoor temperatures. We know that people who are vulnerable to dying from high indoor temperatures overlap with those who are vulnerable to illness from COVID-19.
We know that death rates rise soon after temperature increases, with many deaths occurring in the first two days, so swift action is needed when a Level 2 alert comes to you (Level 2 alert = 60% risk of heatwave in the next 2–3 days). The triggering threshold temperatures for South East England are 310C by day and 160C by night.
We also know the impact of heat on mortality is not reflected in admissions, supporting the idea that many heat-related deaths occur before people come to medical attention.
Attached to this article are two key resources:
- Beat the Heat leaflet: Coping with heat and COVID-19 (link also below) – great specific advice in relation to heat and COVID-19
- A slide deck with background information and actions for Heatwave and Summer preparedness during COVID-19 to prevent harm
This year, Public Health England (PHE) states the action tables for commissioners, providers and the community and voluntary sector (in the Heatwave Plan for England) should continue to be followed with some additional considerations to mitigate and manage the concurrent COVID-19 risks. Please see slides 16 to 22.
We are particularly asked to plan for the implications of hot weather for vulnerable groups, including those who may be at greater risk because they are shielding or self-isolating,
Key Headlines from PHE in relation to Heat and COVID-19:
- COVID-19 amplifies the risks of hot weather
- Fear of COVID-19 should not prevent action to tackle the risks from hot weather and heatwaves
- It is critical that actions to prevent health harms from high temperatures continue, with necessary adaptations in line with coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe (i.e. shielding and self-isolation advice)
- Fans should not be used if anyone in the home is unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Below is a list of resources that will be helpful to you. Please communicate the resources below to your relevant staff/teams and update your websites with these links where relevant.
Resources for Professionals
- Looking after children and those in Early Years Settings during heatwaves: guidance for teachers and professionals
- Water safety for children and young people
- Window safety for children
- Sunscreen and sun safety
- How to get Vitamin D from sunlight