In the UK, warm weather is usually welcomed but we often struggle in extreme heat which can pose several health risks.
Each year, thousands of people are admitted to hospital as a result of heat-related ailments, such as severe sunburn, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. With temperatures soaring over the next few days, we all need to play our part in keeping our loved ones and elderly neighbours safe during the hot weather.
Extremely hot weather poses a number of health risks. Those particularly vulnerable are babies and young children; the elderly; and people with underlying health conditions.
The main risks, as outlined by the NHS, are:
• Heat exhaustion/heatstroke.
To help you and your loved ones stay safe and keep cool during the hot weather, we are sharing some top tips.
How to keep cool in hot weather
• To help you keep cool in hot weather, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, which is between 11.00am – 3.00pm.
• During this time, if you are outdoors, try to keep out of the sun and sit or walk in the shade instead.
• If you are outside, remember to wear sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat to protect you head from getting burnt.
• Taking a cool shower can help, as well as regularly sprinkling water over your skin or clothing, or applying a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
• Drink plenty of fluids to ensure you stay hydrated and avoid excess alcohol.
• Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
How to keep your house cool in hot weather
• Keeping your house cool can help stop you from becoming overheated. For rooms that face the sun, close the curtains to help keep rooms cooler.
• It can be tempting to open the windows during the day, but in order to keep your house cool, you need to keep the hot air out. Then at night, when the temperature has dropped outside, you can open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate round the house and cool it.
• Sometimes it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
How to sleep in hot weather
• During very warm spells, it’s common to struggle with getting to sleep.
• Before going to bed, soak your feet in cool water for 10 minutes. Heat is lost quicker through your feet and your head.
• Think about your sleep environment. Check the tog of your duvet, the higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet. Replace a higher tog duvet with one between 2.5-7 tog.
• If you’re using a fan, keep the door open. This will allow for air to flow around the room.
• If the noise from a fan stops you from falling asleep, why not try filling up a hot water bottle with cold water to keep you cool?
• Hot weather can also make us feel tired. Avoid napping during the day though, as this could leave you struggling to get to sleep during the evening.
What are the signs of overheating?
• Do you know someone who is vulnerable or lives alone? Check up on them to ensure they are coping with the heat.
• Heatstroke can kick in once your body temperature reaches 40c or above. The signs of heatstroke are similar to heat exhaustion, but the person may lose consciousness, have dry skin, stop sweating and/or have difficulty breathing.