Extreme Heat Advice

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°CÂ¥

The above messages are adapted from the World Health Organization’s Europe public health advice on preventing health effects of heat.

Longer-term:

  • consider putting up external shading outside windows
  • use pale, reflective external paints
  • have your loft and cavity walls insulated – this keeps the heat in when it is cold and out when it is hot
  • grow trees and leafy plants near windows to act as natural air‐conditioners 

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 medication

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