It’s really important to look after yourself and those around you in a heatwave by following advice for protecting yourself, anyone you care for and people who are vulnerable to the heat.
Those particularly affected by the heat include babies and very young children, older people, people with pre-existing medical conditions and those on medications which affect renal function, sweating or make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
If you have friends or family with chronic or long term conditions, give them advice on how to stay cool and hydrated, such as moving to a cool room, especially for sleeping, and check that daily support is in place.
If you look after an elderly person, check on them daily, move them to the coolest room in the house, encourage plenty of cold drinks, plan ahead to make sure there is enough food, water and medications to avoid shopping trips, use a water spray to keep skin cool or a fan to create an air current (aimed away from the body at temperatures of 35C+) and close the curtains. When the air is hotter outside, close windows too.
Babies and young children should be kept out of direct sunlight. If you do go out, attach a parasol to the pram or pushchair, apply sunscreen, make sure they wear a hat with a wide brim or neck flap, stop children from being too active and offer lots of cold drinks, lollies or ice cubes. Pull the blinds down to cool their bedroom and at night run them a cool bath, keep bedclothes to a minimum and use a fan to circulate air in the room.
Top tips for everyone to follow:
1. Stay out of the heat:
• Keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm - 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.
2. Cool yourself down:
• Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks, and eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content;
• Take a cool shower, bath or body wash, or sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
3. Keep your environment cool:
• Keep your living space cool - 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;
• Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat;
4. What to do if you or someone you know is unwell:
Even people who are usually fit and well need to take particular care during a heatwave. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke can affect anyone. In addition, it is important that outdoor workers stay out of the sun and take measures to keep cool and hydrated.
For more information on heat-related illnesses and what to do should you or someone you know feel unwell visit NHS.
Call NHS 111 or a GP if you or someone you know is unwell. Call 999 in an emergency.
If you must travel, acquaint yourself with the AA’s advice for planning ahead to avoid congestion, keeping everyone cool in hot cars and spotting poorly passengers.