Coping with Hot Weather

Posted by LRF Manager

For some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why everyone is encouraged to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.

stay safe in hot weather

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • Look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions;
  • Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors;
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol;
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals;
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm;
  • Take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down;
  • Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat;
  • Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day;
  • Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes;
  • When travelling ensure you take water with you

Further advice from Public Health England that will help you cope with the heat this summer includes:

  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with high water content
  • Look out for others: Keep an eye on isolated, older people, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool. Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather. Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed
  • Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C
  • Keep your environment cool: keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with long-term health conditions or anyone who cannot look after themselves
  • Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun, closed during the day. External shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider placing reflective material between them and the window space
  • Open windows at night if it feels cooler outside, although be aware of security issues - especially in ground floor rooms. Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a long-term medical condition or taking multiple medications and have unusual symptoms
  • If you or others feel unwell, seek medical advice
  • If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee.
  • If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, for example after sustained exercise during very hot weather), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. We say that most people should start to recover within 30mins and if not, they should seek medical help. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist
  • If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection and wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn

The following links provide useful pages, information and images:

A useful Beat The Heatposter and checklist can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england NHS Choices webpage on heatwaves has lots of useful information and can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/#risk The Met Office website has up to date weather forecasts at: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk The DEFRA Daily Air Quality Information website uk-air.defra.gov.uk contains information on both air pollution and PHE’s real-time UV measurement data and can be found at: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/uv-index-graphs