Why is hot weather an issue?
Many people enjoy hot weather but there can be serious health consequences from too much heat and vulnerable groups are particularly at-risk in prolonged hot spells.
Hot weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease. Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from the Heatwave Plan for England page, from your doctor or local chemist, or ring NHS 111. The heat‑health alert system comprises of 5 main levels (Levels 0‑4); this ranges from long‑term planning for severe heat up to a major national emergency.
Met office levels
Common Sense tips from Public Health England
Vulnerable people are potentially at greater risk this summer due to overlapping risks across COVID-19 and heat (for example, older age, heart and lung conditions).
Check on others
Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather.
Stay out of the heat:
• keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
• 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
• 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 who can’t look after themselves
• place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
• 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
• 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
On car journeys
- Ensure that babies, children, older people and pets are not left alone in parked cars, which can quickly overheat.
Look out for others:
• keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool
• ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars
• check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
• be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed
If you have a health problem:
• keep medicines below 25 °C 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
If you or others feel unwell:
• try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
• drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
• rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes
• medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
• consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist
Enjoy the water safely
During warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief but take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down.
- 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.
Pets – Who to contact
- Please call RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 if an animal is in danger of harm due to suffering cruelty or neglect or is sick, injured or trapped and needs help
- Take injured wildlife to local wildlife rescues or vets
- If you see a dog in a hot car, ring 999 for help as the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, they need police assistance
Top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather
Never leave animals in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans on a warm day, even if it’s just for a short while. When it’s 22°C outside, temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) in these environments, which can be deadly.
You can also keep your pets safe by:
- Using a pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pet’s skin
- Making sure they have shade
- Giving them constant access to fresh water
- Putting ice cubes in their water bowl
- Giving them damp towels to lie on
Heat-health alerts information sources
|Met Office warnings||The latest Met Office warning and advice||https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/health-wellbeing/hot-weather-and-its-impacts|
|Health issues||NHS advice on various conditions which are adversely affected by hot weather||www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather|
|Homelessness and Rough Sleeping||Who to contact if someone has lost or is at risk of losing their accommodation.||0900 hrs to 1700 hrs – 0300 303 7793 (Mon-Fri) email@example.com After 1700 hrs and weekends – 01823 368 244|
|Reporting rough sleeping||If you are concerned about someone who is sleeping rough please report via Streetlink who can arrange for the local housing team and outreach services to make contact and offer advice.||0300 500 0914 Streetlink.org.uk|
|Severe Weather Accommodation Provision||Sedgemoor District Councils has a Severe Weather and Extended Winter Provision (SWEP) which is triggered by extreme temperatures. When SWEP is in place Sedgemoor District Council encourages anyone sleeping rough within the district to access accommodation via the Outreach Team or the Housing and Homelessness Team. Services for people sleeping rough can also be found at Westfield Church, West Street, Bridgwater.||0900 hrs to 1700 hrs – 0300 303 7793 (Mon-Fri) After 1700 hrs and weekends – 01823 368 244|
|Heat and Covid 19 advice for young, old or vulnerable people||Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather.||Government guidance is set to change in phases, keep up to date with restrictions by checking the government COVID-19 homepage.|
|Advice on Pets||Pets can suffer from heat stroke and exhaustion very easily. Be mindful of walking dogs in extreme temperatures and avoid walks at the peak of the day.||Help Animals Stay Cool In The Hot Summer Weather | RSPCA|