With weather forecasters predicting a hot, sunny week ahead, health leaders are encouraging people to stay cool and look after themselves.
Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense. But before the hot weather arrives, it is a really good time to think about what you can do to protect yourself and your family and friends from heat.
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 we’re urging everyone 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.
With temperatures predicted to reach more than 25°C, we are all being urged to take it easy in the heat by following this simple advice:
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 - 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
- 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
- make sure you take plenty of water with you, if you are travelling
Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a long-term medical condition or taking multiple medications and have unusual symptoms
- 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. 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 feel unwell after being in the sun for some time, it’s a good idea to go somewhere cool to rest and have a cool shower or bath. If you are breathless, or are confused or dizzy, please visit the NHS Choices website, call NHS 111 or seek advice from your local pharmacy.
The NHS Choices website can be found at www.nhs.uk
If you still feel unwell after following the advice above, you should make an appointment to see your GP. Your local pharmacy can also help provide over the counter remedies and prescriptions during the season.
Information and advice for the public on sun safety can be found on nhs.uk – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/sunscreen-and-sun-safety/
Information specifically for babies is also on nhs.uk – https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/childrens-health/how-can-i-keep-my-baby-safe-during-hot-weather/