How to cope in hot weather

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. If a heat wave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.

It's nice when the sun is shining and we can all enjoy a taste of summer - but it's important to remember that rising heat does bring health risks for some.

Why is a heat wave a problem?

The main risks posed by a heat wave are: 

  • dehydration (not having enough water)
  • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay 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.
  • 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.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
  • 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.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

More heat wave advice

For more heat wave advice from the NHS  visit the NHS website.

To view the Heatwave Plan for England and download advice for health and social care professionals, care home managers, teachers and child care professionals visit the GOV.UK website.