Staying safe in the heat

Staying safe in the heat

Staying safe in the heat

Many of us will be delighted by the current warm weather but it is important to remember that heat does bring health risks for some.

A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • Older people, especially those over 75.
  • Babies and young children.
  • People with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems.
  • People with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke.
  • People with serious mental health problems.
  • People on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control.
  • People who misuse alcohol or drugs.
  • People who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports.

Here are some tips for being safe:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat - stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
  • Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool. 
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
  • Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, and apply sunscreen. Sunscreen needs to be rubbed in generously and reapplied regularly to be effective
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.

The Heatwave Plan for England is produced by Public Health England and NHS England to protect the population from heat-related harm to health. It aims to prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England.