Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. When a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.
Who is at risk?
The heat can affect anyone, but some people may be more at risk, including:
- older people, especially those over 75
- babies and young children
- people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart, breathing or mobility problems
- people with serious mental health problems
- people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control (for example diuretics, antihistamines, beta-blockers and antipsychotics)
- people who are already ill and dehydrated (for example from gastroenteritis)
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active (for example soldiers, athletes, hikers and manual workers)
- homeless people
Watch out for signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Sensible advice in hot weather
These are all common sense tips but they can make all the difference. And if people can look after themselves in the heat, they can also help the NHS too.
Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as water, food and any medications you need.
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.
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. Take water with you if travelling.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, older people, young children or animals.
- Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
- 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). Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
- Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
- Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website.
- Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat if you go outdoors. Wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to eyes and apply a sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection.
Make sure that you and your friends and neighbours are ready and equipped for a heatwave. check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves and make sure they have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medication they need.
Visit the Met Office website for weather warnings and advice.
If you need medical assistance and it's not an emergency call NHS 111
More information about what KCC is doing to protect the people of Kent is available through www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave
More information about the Heatwave Plan for England is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england
More information on the NHS ‘Cover up Mate’ campaign is available through www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx
Advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses can be sought at a local pharmacist, GP, walk-in centre or Minor Injuries Unit.