As temperatures recently hit record highs, we are issuing a reminder that the heat can adversely affect those with long-term health conditions.

Although extreme temperatures can affect any individual, those with chronic conditions can be worse affected as the heat can cause increased symptoms. This includes people with Multiple sclerosis (MS), respiratory conditions, and auto-immune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Individuals with heart disease may also struggle to cope as their heart is under more strain.

Employers should remind their staff about the support available within their employee benefits for those with long-term health conditions. Employees may need condition-specific advice about how to cope not just in a heatwave but over the course of the summer and during overseas holidays.

Support can include helping people navigate additional services that are available from their local NHS, signposting to specialist support and investigating equipment that may help an individual feel more comfortable. Understanding which vital signs such as blood pressure and oxygen levels can be monitored and what is considered ‘normal’ can also give people great peace of mind.

Added-value support within employee benefits is not a replacement or alterative for emergency services but once an employee has been referred to the support, they can help an individual cope with their condition on an average day, and also when external circumstances, such as the temperature, is out of the ordinary.

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