Although warm weather is usually seen as a good thing, severe hot weather can have negative health effects. For some, particularly the very young, the elderly and those who have a chronic or severe illness, severe hot weather can be quite dangerous.
Advice for staying cool in the heat
Advice for being safe in the heat includes:
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
- Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF30 with UVA protection, wear a wide brimmed hat and light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
- Drink lots of cool drinks and when travelling ensure you take water with you. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially older people, infants, young children or animals
- If medicines are sensitive to temperature it may be worth keeping them in the fridge
- Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C
- Take early action – seek advice from your local pharmacy if you have a long term health condition and are starting to feel unwell before it gets more serious
If you are concerned about an adult, contact the council's Adult Social Care team.
Heatwave and COVID-19
The pandemic means people are spending more time isolated in homes that could be poorly ventilated or that get very hot like top floor flats.
Have a look at a leaflet on how to cope with heat and COVID-19.
Heatwave Plan for England
The Heatwave Plan for England contains practical things we can all do to minimise the risks to our health in extremely hot weather. If you are a local agency, you should familiarise yourself with the plan for further details on how to support people you work with.
The plan offers advice that can help prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England. This page also has guidance leaflets on staying safe in hot weather and keeping cool at home and other settings such as early years or care homes
Local agencies have a duty to alert and respond to heatwave and are required register to Heath Health Alert service to keep the public informed and safe.
Further advice on preparing for hot weather
- Follow the Met Office alerts, so you are prepared for when the heat strikes
- Check with NHS for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke
- Follow NHS summer health advice
- Met Office Health and Wellbeing pages offer useful information on how to cope with extremely hot weather, hay fever, pollen, UV lighting and many more.
For the vulnerable
- Keeping your baby safe in the sun
- How can I help someone sleeping rough in hot weather? | Homeless Link
- Keeping a person with dementia safe during hot weather - Dementia UK
- Dehydration - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather | Alzheimer's Society (alzheimers.org.uk)
- Sunscreen and sun safety - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Download free British Red Cross emergency app for heatwave alerts and advice
- Consult the Highway Code on Driving in adverse weather conditions
- Visit Cool Spaces London for a map of cool and shaded places of refuge for Londoners when temperatures are excessively high.
- Go to Heatwave Plan for England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) for more resources such as leaflets and posters
- Download a training slideset on the health impacts of hot weather and the Heatwave Plan for England for the health and social care system and the voluntary sector
- Review Heat-health risks and COVID-19: Actions to prevent harm