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Heatwaves and Summer Weather

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Heatwaves and Summer Weather

As we see more frequent and intense periods of warm weather, it is important we understand how to cope with the heat and remain safe, before and during a heatwave. 

 

Check out our heat advice and top tips below.

 

Before hot weather

We are usually aware with prior warning when a period of hot weather is coming, and it is helpful to plan for every summer period.

There are things you can do to prepare for and reduce the risk of your home overheating during hot weather:

  • Register for heat health alerts - Weather-Health Alerting system registration form (office.com)
  • Check for weather warnings - Guide to email alert service - Met Office
  • Consider installing internal blinds or curtains, or external shutters, roller blinds or awnings are also very effective
  • If you have a ventilation system in your home, check this is switched on and operating in ‘summer mode’ if it has one
  • Check that fridges, freezers, and fans are working correctly, for example by checking that your food is remaining cold or frozen
  • Check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging
  • If insulating or refurbishing your home, ask installers for advice about reducing overheating
  • Growing plants outside can provide shade, which may be particularly helpful in front of south-facing windows, while plants inside may help cool the air

 

During hot weather

When the hot weather arrives, there are several quick and easy steps that we can all take to reduce heat in the home:

  • If possible, shade or cover windows, especially sun facing windows
  • Use electric fans if the air temperature is below 35 °C, but do not aim the fan directly at your body, as this can lead to dehydration
  • Check that your heating is turned off and thermostat turned down if you have one
  • To reduce heat generated in the home, turn off lights and electrical equipment that are not in use and consider cooking at cooler times of the day
  • Move to a cooler part of the house, especially for sleeping, if possible
  • It may be cooler outside in the shade or in a public building (such as places of worship, local libraries, or supermarkets) so consider a visit as a way of cooling down if you are able to safely travel there without putting yourself at more risk from the heat
  • Plan your journey and travel with water. Using a travel planner such as Citymapper that can inform on what travel methods have air conditioning. ️ Stay cool - Citymapper

 

Top Tips

  1. Keep out of the heat if possible. If you have to go outside, try to stay in the shade, wear sunscreen, appropriate clothing like a hat and light clothes and avoid exercise or activity that makes you hotter
  2. Make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Find out where to refill water bottles for free using the Refill app - https://www.refill.org.uk/
  3. Keep your living space as cool as possible. Close windows during the day and open them at night when the temperature outside has gone down. Electric fans can help if the temperature is below 35 degrees. Close curtains in rooms that face the sun. Check the temperature of rooms, especially where people at higher risk live and sleep
  4. It may be cooler outside or in a public building, such as places of worship or libraries - Cool Spaces | London City Hall
  5. Try to avoid being in the sun between 11am and 3PM, when the UV rays are strongest
  6. While many people enjoy warmer summer weather, hot weather can cause some people to become unwell through overheating (becoming uncomfortably hot), dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Check on family, friends and neighbours who may be at higher risk of becoming unwell, and if you are at higher risk, ask them to do the same for you. Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and what to do if you or someone else has them. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  7. If you are going to do a physical activity (for example walking the dog or walking the dog), plan to do these during times of the day when it is cooler, such as the morning or evening

 

Heat and Health

Who's most at risk?

A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • Older people – especially those over 75
  • Those who live on their own or in a care home
  • 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 who are on multiple medicines that may make them more likely to be badly affected by hot weather
  • Those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer's disease
  • Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life
  • Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight
  • People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top-floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside. If you see anyone sleeping rough, you can refer them to StreetLink. http://www.streetlink.org.uk/

 

UK Health Security Agency - Beat the heat