Stay safe in a hot weather
What is a heat wave?
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. This type of weather can cause various health problems, especially for those with heart, respiratory and serious health problems, babies, young children and older people.
What can you do?
If you're going out in the sun follow simple advice:
- stay out of the heat
- keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
- 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, wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
- avoid extreme physical exertion
- have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine or drinks high in sugar. If drinking fruit juice, dilute it with water. Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content. and when travelling ensure you take water with you
More advice about summer health is available from the NHS website.
Be a good neighbour:
- 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. Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars. Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
Keep your environment cool:
- keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people or those with long-term health conditions or who can't 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 but cheaper and easier to install 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
- keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
- electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35C
What are the risks?
- too much exposure to the heat and sun can be bad for your health. Danger symptoms to watch out for include
- 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 take immediate action to cool down as quickly as possible
- move to a cool place, increase ventilation, sprinkle cold water on the skin and drink water or fruit juice
- do not take aspirin or paracetamol
- seek further advice from NHS 111, a doctor, or ring 999 if the person has collapsed
Hot weather increases the risk of fire. By following the Fire Kills campaign's top tips you can make sure this summer is a safe and enjoyable one.
If you are worried about the safety of a vulnerable adult please call the Adult Social Care Helpdesk on 01452 426868. Office hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm excluding bank holidays.