Staying cool in a heat wave

Staying cool in a heat wave

Stay cool this summer

If a heat wave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know. Those most at risk are:

  • Older people

  • 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 illicit drugs

  • People with mobility problems

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

The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks. However, if someone feels unwell, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away, seek medical help.

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 and wear a hat and light scarf

  • Avoid extreme physical exertion

  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes

Cool yourself down:

  • Have 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:

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can't look after themselves

  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature

  • 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. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space

  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment they generate heat

  • Keep indoor 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 may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C

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