Hot weather - what you need to know

12 September 2016

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. We are currently experiencing some particularly high temperatures—make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. We are currently experiencing some particularly high temperatures—make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.

The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse. 

Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it's safe, open them 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 fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. 
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or on the Met Office website
  • 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 if you go outdoors. 
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves. 
If you're worried about yourself or a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative, you can contact the local environmental health office at your local authority. 

How do I know if someone needs help?

If someone feels unwell, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink.

Seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away.