The HSE is providing health advice as Irish Water urges the public to continue to conserve water, and following the commencement of the Water Conservation Order in the Greater Dublin Area.
According to Dr Kevin Kelleher, HSE Assistant National Director for Public Health and Child Health and Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre:
“While many continue to enjoy the hot weather, it can have a significant effect on people’s health.
"Those with a serious chronic illness, older people, babies and young children are especially at risk from the consequences of overheating or heat exhaustion.
"Ongoing high temperatures are also seeing increased demand on water supplies but people should ensure they drink enough, drink the right things and keep hydrated, while using water wisely.”
- Make sure everyone - babies, children, adults old and young - have enough water to drink. It’s important we all drink enough water / liquid, and it is easy to forget. Fill jugs / containers of water during the day from your drinking water tap, cover and leave in the fridge.
- It’s best not to drink tea or coffee as they contain caffeine, which can add to dehydration, as does alcohol.
- Bottled water can be used for drinking and cooking.
- Information about dehydration is available here on the HSE website.
It’s very important to keep babies hydrated
Bottled water can be used to make up infant formula. It’s best not to use bottled water labeled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ to make up infant feeds as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals.
However, it rarely exceeds these levels and can be used in an emergency. If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled (rolling boil for 1 minute) once, and cooled in the normal way. Do not re-boil. Ready-to-use infant formula that does not need added water can also be used.
It’s very important for older people to keep hydrated
It is important that everybody, including older people stay hydrated by drinking enough water / liquid. It is easy for all of us to forget to drink enough.
Hand hygiene is very important
It is important to maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water before cooking food, eating, after using the toilet and after changing nappies.
If you do not have enough running water to wash your hands at other times, use an alcohol based hand gel. Alcohol based hand gels can be used in all instances, if there is no water available to wash your hands.
It’s important to keep cool
A short cool shower or shallow bath can help. Babies can be sponged down with cool water.
Make sure water is safe to drink and follow the advice of your Local Authority or Irish Water
If Irish Water or your Local Authority delivers water by tank into your area, you will be advised to boil it before using. If it’s necessary to boil the water from your drinking water tap in your kitchen, you will be told to do this by Irish Water or the Local Authority.
If a boil water notice is put on your water supply it means that you should boil your water before using for drinking, brushing teeth, and preparing food and ice. If you use an alternative water source, such as an old well or a neighbour’s well, you should be sure that it is safe to drink.
If in any doubt, boil it before using. Don’t consume untreated water from a lake, river, spring or unsupervised well like a holy well.
Conserve water and use it wisely
Containers filled (when your water tap is flowing well) to be covered and kept in fridge.
Save water not suitable for drinking for other uses like washing clothes, pouring into the toilet to flush or watering plants.
You should not to wash cars or water lawns until the supply is fully restored.