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Keeping cool in summer

Keeping cool in summer is very important, particularly for people with certain medical conditions, the elderly and the very young.

Older people and people with heart, respiratory and other serious health problems are most vulnerable when the temperature starts to rise.

The main risks posed by a prolonged spell of hot weather, or a heatwave, are:

Signs of illness

Seek help from a GP or contact NHS 111 if someone is feeling unwell and shows symptoms of:

  • breathlessness
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • intense thirst
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • cramps which get worse or don't go away

Ways to stay well in the heat include:

  • staying out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat
  • ensuring adequate ventilation
  • wearing loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors
  • shutting windows and pulling down blinds when it is hotter outside - you can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler
  • drinking regularly - water or fruit juice is best and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar
  • keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows - if this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter)
  • have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water

Other ideas for staying safe in the sun include:

  • listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool
  • plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need
  • identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool
  • check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves

If you have any concerns contact your GP for further advice.

Read more about staying healthy and safe during hot weather.