Keeping cool in Summer
During the summer the warm weather is enjoyable for most of us, but the heat can sometimes become very uncomfortable. For older people, or people with chronic health conditions, the hot weather can be dangerous and potentially fatal.
The NHS has produced a guide that provides advice on how to cope with high temperatures called Looking after yourself and others during hot weather. We have summarised the main points of this guide in this section.
What to do to stay cool
If a heatwave is forecast, you should take the following precautions wherever possible:
- Stay out of the sun. If this is not possible, try to stay inside between 11am and 3pm, which is the hottest part of the day.
- Avoid any strenuous activity, such as gardening or carrying heavy shopping bags.
- If you do need to go out, try to stay in the shade. Wear a hat and loose-fitting clothes.
- Take a bottle of water with you and have regular drinks to stop you becoming dehydrated.
Even if you are staying indoors, you still need to be very careful:
- Stay in the coolest rooms in the house, if possible.
- Close the curtains to keep some of the heat out.
- Keep windows closed when the room is cool but open them when it gets hotter and at night for ventilation.
- Take cool showers or baths to stop your body temperature from getting too high, or splash yourself with cold water.
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water or fruit juice, but avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. It is important to drink even if you don’t feel thirsty to avoid dehydration.
- Eat as normal, but try to have more cold foods such as salad and fruit.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
If your body becomes overheated and dehydrated you may suffer from heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle weakness or cramps
- pale skin
- and a high temperature
If you experience any of these symptoms you should move somewhere cool, drink plenty of water, and take a lukewarm shower if possible.
If heat exhaustion is not recognised and treated, it could lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Other Useful Information
- Age UK’s guide Staying cool in a heatwave
Other Useful Organisations
- NHS 111 is the new telephone service which has replaced NHS Direct. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.
- NHS.UK is a website providing health and medical advice, an online symptom checker and a facility for searching for services near you.
Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Last updated: December 10, 2018