Be hot weather ready

How to stay cool and well in the heat

Be hot weather ready

As the country prepares for record-beating temperatures in the coming days people are being urged to take steps to stay safe and look after others in the heat.

The mercury is predicted to hit the 30s and potentially even 40 degree Celsius heat and it is important people take steps to avoid becoming unwell.

People have been attending busy A&Es in the last week for heat-related issues.

And due to the forecast high temperatures on Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19 all Oxford Health COVID-19 vaccination centres in Aylesbury, Oxford and Reading will be closed.

Taking a few simple steps can make a big difference to your health in hot weather.

Marie Crofts, Chief Nurse at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which operates community hospitals and minor injury units, mental health services and health visiting, school nursing and learning disability services said: “Weather predictions tell us we are all likely to experience extremely high temperatures which are unusual for the UK. It is vital we all take precautions to remain comfortable and safe in the heat, and remain vigilant by keeping an eye on the vulnerable including older people, babies and young children and people with ongoing medical conditions.”

Check on others

  • Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather.
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social services is someone is unwell or further help is needed.
  • Keep babies cool and safe.

If you have a health condition

  • Keep medication below 25 Degrees Celsius or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications

Stay hydrated

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
  • If you need to travel, ensure you take water with you.
  • Eat cold food, particularly salad and fruit with high water content

Cool down

  • Take a cool bath, show or body wash
  • Sprinkle cool water over your skin or clothes, place a cook wet flannel at the back of your neck

Physical activity

  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening. Keeping the home cool

Keep your environment cool

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for the elderly, infants and people with ongoing health conditions
  • Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. External shutters or shades, if you have them, are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat.
  • If possible and safe, open windows at night if it feels cooler outside.
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house if possible as evaporation helps to cool the air.
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
  • During the hottest periods find the coolest part of your home or garden/outside or local green space to sit in.
  • If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
  • On car journeys ensure that babies, children, or older people are not left alone in parked cars, which can quickly overheat.

Look out for the signs of heat-related harm

  • If you feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst and a headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate. Avoid excess alcohol.
  • If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, or abdomen), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks.
  • Most people should start to recover within 30 mins and if not, you should seek medical help.
  • Call 111 if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist.
  • Call 999 if a person develops any signs of heatstroke as this is a medical emergency.
  • Further information on heatstroke and heat-related illness are on the NHS website.

Enjoy the water safely

  • During warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief.
  • Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down. Sunburn
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when UV radiation is strongest.
  • If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes. Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection and wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should reduce the risk of sunburn.

Information is also available on the NHS website.

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Published: 15 July 2022