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HSE issues safety warning as Galway temperatures hit 29C

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As temperatures hit 29°C in Galway this afternoon, the HSE and Department of Health have issued a warning and advice so that people can safely enjoy the good summer weather.

HSE Assistant National Director for Health Protection, Dr Kevin Kelleher and Department Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan said that staying well is mostly a matter of common sense.

“During a hot spell deaths in people aged 75 and over can rise by up to 60% more than would normally be expected. Those with heart, respiratory and serious health problems are more at risk of potentially adverse effects of very warm weather, while babies and young children are also especially at risk,” said Dr Kelleher. 

They advised that while the heat can affect anyone, the following are most at risk of serious harm:

  • Older people, especially those over 75.
  • Babies and young children.
  • People with serious mental health problems.
  • People on certain medication.
  • People with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems.
  • People who already have a high temperature from an infection.
  • People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs.
  • People with mobility problems.
  • People who are physically active, like manual workers and athletes.

They also provided information on staying cool, what to do if you are unwell and advice on the use of medicines during very warm weather.

Top tips for keeping cool

It is best avoid getting too hot in the first place. Remember to think of those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat.

Stay out of the heat:

  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen with UVA protection and wear a hat and light scarf.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat to shade face, neck and ears
  • Wear a broad brimmed hat and sunscreen with UVA protection factor 20, 30, 40, or 50 depending on your skin type. If you have children make sure they are properly protected as their skin is extra sensitive. 
  • Wear sunglasses

Cool yourself down:

  • Drink plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.

Keep your environment cool:

  • Keep your living space cool.  This is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves.
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
  • Keep plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping.
  • Electric fans can help but only if temperature is below 35C.       

Look out for others:

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool.
  • Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars.
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed

Advice on medicines

  • Many prescription medicines can reduce your tolerance of heat. You should keep taking your medicines, but take extra care to keep cool.
  • Danger symptoms to watch out for in hot weather include: feeling faint and dizzy, short of breath, vomiting or increasing confusion.   Take immediate action if danger symptoms of heatstroke are present: Cool down as quickly as possible. However do not take aspirin or paracetamol – this can make you worse.  Do however carry on taking all other prescribed medicines.  Seek further advice from a doctor, or ring 999 if the person has collapsed.
  • Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.      

If you or others feel unwell

  • Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature.
  • Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.
  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular cramps (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes.
  • Seek medical attention as needed if heat cramps last more than one hour.
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.

Seek advice if you have any concerns:

  • Contact your doctor or a pharmacist if you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.
  • Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping.
  • If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.

If you suspect someone has heatstroke:

  • Remember, heatstroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly, and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 999 immediately.
  • While waiting for the ambulance, move the person somewhere cooler if possible, increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan and cool the affected person as quickly as possibly by loosening their clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet. If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink. Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol.

Connacht Tribune

All out in force to cheer home one of their own

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Fiona Murtagh…back home with her Olympic medal on Sunday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.

Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.

That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.

The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.

“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.

Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Rowing heroes reunited for special day to savour

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Hero’s homecoming…Aifric Keogh with her parents Susan and Jim Keogh. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

About halfway through her homecoming on Bank Holiday Monday, Aifric Keogh spotted a very familiar face in the crowd lining the road.

It was her fellow Olympic medallist Fiona Murtagh from Moycullen, whom she’d soldiered with in Tokyo days earlier to win bronze in the Women’s Coxless Fours final.

Fiona was outside Furbo Church with her boyfriend, on the way to Pádraicín’s to meet mates. The plan was to watch Aifric’s open-top bus and cavalcade pass-by. Fiona had no intention of joining in – but she had no choice.

“When I looked down and saw Fiona, she was laughing at me, waving up. So, I made the bus stop and dragged her up there beside me,” laughed Aifric.

It meant that those turning out on the second leg of the journey from Na Forbacha to An Spidéal and back again, got two Olympic legends for the price of one!

“I made her come up with me. And then we were driving through Spiddal and we actually drove passed her aunt’s house, so her aunt and cousins and mom were outside waving up at us. It was really nice for us to be so close together here in Galway,” said Aifric.

That was just one of several special moments from a homecoming the 28-year-old rower will treasure.

Whereas Fiona came back to Conamara straight from Dublin Airport, and had a hero’s welcome in Moycullen on Sunday, Aifric stayed in Dublin on Sunday, driving down the following morning.

As she passed through Barna on the way to her parents’ house in Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, she could see flags, bunting and bonfires being prepared for her official drive-through later that evening. But what she witnessed on that journey to the home house of her parents, Jim and Susan, didn’t prepare her for the size of turnout.

“It was amazing. I didn’t know what to expect. Obviously, I was expecting some of my friends and family but seeing so many people from Spiddal, Barna and Furbo coming out along the road the whole way was just crazy,” she said.

Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Saw Doctors sell out – to shoot back into the charts!

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Saw Doctors...as they were in the early days (from left) Leo Moran, Pearse Doherty, John 'Turps' Burke, Davy Carton and (front) Johnny Donnelly.

It’s official – the Saw Doctors have finally sold out. Because, as of this week, it’s impossible for fans to get their hands on a copy of the Galway band’s iconic first album, remastered 30 years on from its original incarnation.

The good news is that the band are now going to do a fourth vinyl pressing of ‘If This is Rock And Roll, I Want My Old Job Back’ – but given the global renaissance in vinyl, it will be the beginning of September before they’ll be for sale.

So far, the album has sold all 1,500 copies pressed – and that has increased hopes of the band playing live again, once pandemic restrictions are eased, according to the band’s manager Ollie Jennings.

“A guy called Simon Moran is the biggest music promoter in the UK; he’s based in Manchester and he’s worked with Peter Kay in the past, who got him into the Saw Doctors.

“He has, twice in the last six months, written personal emails begging the band to tour the UK,” he says.

And that’s not some vanity project, because he knows that – the last time the Saw Docs played in the UK in 2017 – they did 20 shows that drew 30,000 fans.

“We sold out the Manchester Apollo with 4,000; we sold out two nights at Glasgow’s Barrowlands with 4,000 each night. He knows we will do the business,” says Ollie.

Up to now, the prospects of another tour seemed remote – but the success of the album has rekindled the Saw Doctors, and something magical happened when the band got together to sign the rereleased LP.

“It was a wonderful afternoon in Leo’s house in Tuam; loads of laughs and old stories; just magic – it was like being back in 1990 or 1991 again,” says Ollie.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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