COVID-19 Community Research: Understanding Unmet Need survey (closing 24th July 2020)

We are supporting researchers from the Public Health Institute, LJMU, to carry out a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on voluntary, community, faith and enterprise sector organisations across our local region. This research will provide evidence about:

  • The needs of voluntary, community, faith and enterprise sector organisations and the support required to support infrastructure and sustainability in the short and longer-term; and,
  • Whether there are specific groups within communities who are vulnerable and for whom there are specific concerns, and where an appropriate response is required to ‘reach out’ to provide immediate support.

Hot weather warning issued to people shielding and more vulnerable groups

People shielding indoors from COVID-19, older people, those with underlying health conditions and very young children are all more vulnerable from the higher temperatures.

Emer O’Connell, Consultant in Public Health at Public Health England, said:

Most of us look forward to the warmer weather, but some people may find it more difficult to cope with these higher temperatures. Older people, those with underlying health conditions and very young children are more at risk in hot weather.

This summer, many of us are spending more time at home due to COVID-19, especially those shielding, as they are at high risk of developing severe infection. A lot of homes can overheat, so it’s important we continue to check up on older people and those with underlying health conditions, particularly if they’re living alone and may be socially isolated.

You will need to do things differently this year, for example, keeping in touch by phone. If you need to provide direct care to someone at risk from hot weather, follow government guidance on how to do this safely. The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and know how to keep their homes cool.

Jo Churchill, Health Minister, said:

With plenty of sunshine and soaring temperatures expected over the coming days, many of us across the UK will be outside making the most of the fantastic weather while following the social distancing rules.

It’s important, however, to make sure you stay safe in the sun: apply sunscreen regularly, stay hydrated and protect your head from the sun. Look out for those who are vulnerable in the heat and provide support where needed, continuing to follow social distancing guidance.

To enjoy the sun while staying safe:

  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Everyone is at risk of dehydration in hot temperatures, but babies, children and older people are particularly vulnerable
  • stay cool indoors: open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside; shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight; move to a cooler part of the house, especially for sleeping
  • slow down when it’s hot: exertion heats up our bodies so plan any strenuous activities (such as exercise and gardening) outside the hottest time of the day, typically 11am to 3pm
  • cool your skin with water. You could use a cool wet sponge or flannel, cool water spray, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or a cool, wet sheet
  • stay connected and listen to the weather forecast. Knowing the forecast can help you plan ahead and adapt what you’re doing
  • dress appropriately for the weather. Protect yourself against the sun’s radiation and keep yourself cool by wearing thin cotton clothes
  • eat smaller meals, more often. Cold salads and fruit are the perfect summer foods

For more information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, visit NHS.UK.

Read our COVID-19 and summer temperatures blog for more advice on how to stay well in hot weather.

Tips for looking after your health in Sefton this bank holiday

However you are planning to enjoy the long weekend, the local NHS has some useful information for how to take care of yourself in case of illness or injury.

Debbie Fagan, chief nurse for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Most minor illnesses and ailments can be effectively treated at home with a well stocked medicine cabinet at any time of year but remember to store things like painkillers and antihistamines safely and out of the reach of young children. Your local pharmacist will be happy to advise you about the over the counter preparations that can help.”

She added: “If you’re out and about over the bank holiday weekend, you could add a small first aid kit to your bag or the boot of the car, just in case. Drinking plenty of water and protecting yourself from the sun are also simple ways to take care of yourself.”

Although GP practices will not be open on Monday 27 August, some local pharmacies will be open if you do need help unexpectedly. Pharmacists can give advice and suggest treatments for a range of minor illnesses and injuries. With no appointment necessary, you can get back to enjoying your weekend rather than waiting to see a GP.

You can visit the CCG websites to see which pharmacies will be open this bank holiday:

You can also find details of other services that can help if you’re unwell, including walk in centres and NHS 111, which is available anytime and for free by calling 111 and also now available online at www.111.nhs.uk.