Most of us welcome hot weather, but excessive heat is associated with health risks. In England, there are on average 2000 heat-related deaths every year.* As summer continues to be hot and dry, it's vital that we are prepared for high temperatures and know how to handle heat-induced conditions.
Who is most at risk from hot weather?Heatwaves and extremely hot weather cause discomfort for most people, but some are at greater risk of becoming ill. Those who are most vulnerable to the hot weather are:
- elderly people especially aged over 75, babies and young children
- people who have a serious or long-term illness, including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease or some mental health conditions
- people taking certain medications
- people who spend a lot of time outside, in hot places or in poorly ventilated areas (those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside).
Top Tips to Help you Stay Healthy During the Summer Heat
Infographic courtesy of Healthdirect Australia.
- Drink plenty of fluids. One of the best ways to avoid heat-related illness is to drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep drinking water even if you don’t feel thirsty, because this can prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Also, try to always keep an insulated water bottle with you, so you don’t forget and enjoy a cool drink!
Avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks as these can make dehydration worse.
- Keep your body cool by using mist sprays and drinking plenty of water and eating cold light meals such as salads and fruit, and make sure you stay out of the sun.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Opt for light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton and linen.
Keep your house cool, for example shutting curtains and closing blinds during the hottest hours of the day.
- Stay safe in the sun. If you need to go outside in the sun, it's important to protect you and your children's skin. Wear a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB SPF 50+, and top up at least every 2 hours as needed. Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your face and eyes.
- If you avoid sunburn, you reduce the risk of skin cancer, which is one of the most common cancer types in UK. **
Where can I get help?
If you are unwell, contact your local pharmacist, GP or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. If you think your symptoms are serious, call 999 or 111 if it isn't a life-threatening situation.