Look after yourself and others during hot weather

Published on: Tuesday, 16-June-2015

The Department of Health has launched its Summer Heatwave plan. The plan runs until 15 September and features a series of alerts from 0 to 4, with level 4 being the most extreme weather.

While many people may enjoy the sunny weather, the high temperatures can be dangerous for a number of people.  The Department of Health has issued advice to help minimise health issues during the hot weather.  This can be viewed here.

During the rising temperatures, extra care and attention should be given to a number of people who may find the hot weather difficult. These include:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • those who find it difficult to adapt behaviour to keep cool, for example people suffering from Alzheimer’s, have a disability or are bed bound      
  • people on certain medication or with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
  • those who already have a high temperature from an infection
  • people who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
  • people with mobility problems
  • people who are physically active, like manual workers and athletes

You can look after yourself and others by:

  • Staying out of the heat particularly between 11am and 3pm - the hottest part of the day
  • Wearing light loose-fitting clothing and a hat / scarf
  • Wear at least factor 15 sunscreen and remember to apply 30 minutes before you go out in the sun. Reapply every couple of hours. Check it is still in date. 
  • Drink plenty of cold drinks, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
  • Keeping your environment cool by keeping windows shaded and closed during the day when hotter outside
  • Opening windows at night to cool the home, if safe to do so - electrical fans may help too
  • Being aware of older people, particularly those with health conditions, and young children in hot weather
  • Ensuring any medication is kept below 25oC
  • Take extra care when planning outdoor activities such as barbecues, which involve prolonged time spent outdoors as well as posing an additional fire risk. Further safety information and guidance can be found here.

If you are worried about what to do, either for yourself or somebody you know who you think might be at risk, go to www.nhs.uk/summerhealth, telephone NHS 111 or visit your local chemist.