Heatwave look out for others such as infants, those with health conditions and elderly people

Staying safe in a heatwave

July 21, 2021

As temperatures sore across the UK it is important to stay safe in the heat and look after more vulnerable people such as children, the elderly and people with heath conditions. Health risks can increase over a prolonged period of heat. 

Tips for staying safe during a heatwave:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum.  Tips for babies 
  • stay cool indoors: many of us may need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • use cool spaces considerately if going outdoors, and wash your hands regularly
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat and wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling
  • if you have a health problem, keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator
  •  remember to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and follow simple health advice to beat the heat. Heat exhaustion can be very serious if not treated quickly. 
  • remember that while coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are in place, you will need to follow any additional government guidance to use public spaces safely, such as wearing a mask in all NHS settings 

Health and social care workers in the community, hospitals and care homes are advised to regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26 °C, ensure patients have access to cold water and ice and that medicines are stored in a cool place.

Dr Owen Landeg, Scientific and Technical Lead at Public Health England, said:

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy. However, for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk.

If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.

It’s also worth remembering the practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat.”