Keeping cool in the summer
Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long, there are health risks. If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather does not harm you or anyone you know.
There are three main health risks from heat:
- Dehydration from not consuming enough water
- Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- Heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which you can find out more about on the NHS.uk website.
Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long, there are health risks. A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious long-term condition, especially heart or breathing problems
- people with mobility problems
- people with serious mental health problems
- people on certain medicines, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports
Here are some tips for coping in hot weather
- keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day,
- open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
- Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm
- wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
- keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows.
- have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water
- drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
Although you may not need to take any immediate action, stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio, TV or social media, or the Met Office. The Meteorological Office has a warning system that issues alerts if a heatwave is likely. If you’re planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination (BBC Weather, Environment Agency Flood Alerts, Local Authority Alerts for environmental issues, PHE for public health updates)
Take extra caution when travelling
Get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings before you travel – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Keep yourself hydrated
It’s important to keep your body’s water content topped up, otherwise, dehydration can develop. Dehydration means your body loses more fluids than you take in. If it’s not treated, it can get worse and become a serious problem. If you think you may be dehydrated, you need to rehydrate your body by drinking fluid. For mild dehydration, drinking water may be all that’s needed – it’s better to drink little and often.
You can learn more about how to cope in hot weather here.