The Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.
NHS has produced advice on how to spot the symptoms of heatstroke during a heatwave, and setting out the first aid that should be given to people who are affected in this way.
Who is most at risk?
Anyone can experience heat related symptoms but some people may have a higher risk of serious harm. These include:
- Babies and young children.
- Older people, especially women and those over 75.
And people with:
- a serious chronic condition, especially heart, kidney or breathing problems, or diabetes
- mobility problems, for example people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
- serious mental health problems
- people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
- people who misuse alcohol or drugs
- people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports
Top tips for keeping cool
It is best for your health to avoid getting too hot in the first place. Remember to think of those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat.
Stay out of the heat:
- Keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
- If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf.
- Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening.
- Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
Cool yourself down:
- Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
- Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content.
- Take a cool shower, bath or body wash.
- Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
Keep your environment cool:
- Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves.
- Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
- Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
- Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature.
- Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
- Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air.
- If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping.
- Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C. At temperatures above 35°C fans may not prevent heat related illness and may cause dehydration. The advice is not to aim the fan directly on the body and to have regular drinks. This is especially important in the case of sick people confined to bed.