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Home   Kent   News   Article

Emergency departments at Kent hospitals prepare for influx of patients due to heatwave

18 July 2014
by Gareth Arnold

A&E departments are braced for an influx of patients today as Kent is hit with a heatwave that could make the county hotter than Honolulu.

Hospitals have brought in extra doctors to cope with the increased pressure on emergency services expected over the weekend as temperatures could reach 32C.

Nurses have been told to monitor the amount patients drink more closely than usual - and wards have been equipped with electric fans and water dispensers as hospitals' hot weather plans swing into action.

Medical experts have warned people to stay hydrated on the beach

Medical experts have warned people to stay hydrated on the beach in Kent, such as at Dymchurch

Forecasters predict more hot and humid conditions in Kent today, with sunny spells but thunderstorms set to arrive.

Temperatures could top 32C - with the hot weather and more stormy conditions continuing over the weekend.

Many people across Kent were kept awake in the early hours with heavy thunder and lightning strikes.

And with more thundery showers set to hit Kent overnight, the Met Office has today issued a severe weather warning for the county.

Hospital departments are already seeing an increase in conditions caused or exacerbated by the heat.

Deal seafront has been bathed in sunshine. Picture Tony Flashman

Deal seafront has been bathed in sunshine. Picture: Tony Flashman

Sara and one-year-old Millie enjoy the weather on Deal beach. Picture Tony Flashman

Sara and one-year-old Millie enjoy the weather on Deal beach. Picture: Tony Flashman

Harvey Coles, two, aims for a better view on Deal seafront. Picture Tony Flashman

Harvey Coles, two, aims for a better view on Deal seafront. Picture: Tony Flashman

Peter Oarsman, chief matron at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, said they were seeing more cases of kidney stones, often caused by dehydration.

The condition particularly affects elderly people, but Mr Oarsman warned younger people who have been drinking alcohol in the sun are also at risk.

"We're seeing more kidney stones caused by not drinking enough," he said. "People are out on the beach, maybe drinking too much alcohol.

"As a guide, a doctor told me once that you need to drink enough so your wee is a lovely champagne colour."

Louis Rose and Evangeline Luckhurst enjoy the sun at Riverside Country Park. Picture Steve Crispe

Louis Rose and Evangeline Luckhurst enjoy the sun at Riverside Country Park. Picture: Steve Crispe

Little Molly and Nelson Cooper enjoy the shade at Central Park in Dartford

Little Molly and Nelson Cooper enjoy the shade at Central Park in Dartford

Two sun-seekers enjoy the rays on Deal seafront. Picture Tony Flashman

Two sun-seekers enjoy the rays on Deal seafront. Picture: Tony Flashman

Serious cases of sunburn are also up across the county, he revealed.

Mr Oarsman said: "Sunburn cases turn up late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

"People roast in the sun all day then get home and find they are in agony.

"We had two people in at 4am because they couldn't sleep. We treat it like any other burn - apply cream and dressings - but if it's blistering badly people may have to get a plastic surgeon to look at it."

A lightning strike over Kent last night. Picture @JamieGoatman

A lightning strike over Kent last night. Picture: @JamieGoatman

The Met Office has warned there is a strong possibility of full heatwave conditions between Friday and Sunday mornings.

A severe weather warning is triggered when forecasters predict a 60% chance of temperatures being high enough over at least two consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health.


 Top 10 places to stay cool in Kent


Earlier this week, the warning prompted Public Health England to release advice on how to stay safe in the sun.

Tips include:

  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection
  • wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
  • wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and light scarf
  • drink lots of cool drinks
  • look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

Meanwhile, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to take extra care if you are planning a barbecue to soak up the sun.

Firefighters are predicting an increase in grass fire blazes as Kent sizzles.

Will you be enjoying the heat - or seeking shade? Let us know what you're doing by leaving a comment below.


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