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Advice on looking after yourself and others during the hot weather

Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic disease. The heat can affect anyone but those at particular risk during a heatwave include:

  • Older people.

  • Babies and young children.

  • People with 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 use alcohol or illicit drugs.

  • People with mobility problems.

  • People who are physically active like manual workers and sportsmen and women.

In a severe heatwave you may get dehydrated and your body may overheat, leading to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Below are some precautions that we can all take to stay safe in the sun.

Keep out of the heat

  • If a heatwave is forecast, try and plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat.

  • If you can, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm).II

  • If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning.

  • If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.

Stay cool

  • Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
  • Close the curtains in rooms that get a lot of sun.
  • Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation. If you are worried about security, at least open windows on the first floor and above.
  • Take cool showers or baths, and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck.

Drink regularly

  • Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best.
  • Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
  • Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.

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, 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 anyone you know is likely to be at risk during a heatwave, help them get the advice and support they need. Older people living on their own should be visited daily to check they are OK.

Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from NHS Choices.

Contact Details

Access to Adult Social Care

0300 555 0055

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