The government has put a yellow heat health alert in place for most of this week. Long-term forecasts predict more hot weather in July and August. We can all take steps to keep ourselves and others safe in the heat.

What you can do to stay safe:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated – water, diluted squash and lower fat milks keep you hydrated. Sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks all have dehydrating effects.
  • Avoid being out in the sun where possible, particularly during the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm). Plan physical activity (eg, exercise or dog-walking) in the mornings or evenings when it’s cooler.
  • Dress appropriately when out in the sun – lightweight, loose-fitting and light-coloured clothes are best. Wear a sun hat, sunglasses and regularly apply sunscreen.
  • Take frequent breaks, indoors or in the shade.
  • Keep cool inside buildings – use fans, open windows (if it’s safe to do so), and close curtains or blinds on windows that face the sun.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces – stationary vehicles and lofts can get dangerously hot very quickly.

Look out for others:

Check in on family, friends and neighbours when it's hot. People who are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell include:

  • People aged 65 and over.
  • Children aged five and under.
  • People with underlying physical or mental health conditions.
  • People on certain medications.
  • People who are already ill.
  • People who experience alcohol or drug dependence.
  • People who are physically active and spend a lot of time outside.
  • People who work in jobs that require manual labour or extensive time outside.
  • People experiencing homelessness.

People who live alone and may be unable to care for themselves.

Spot the signs of heat-induced illness

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats. People suffering from heat exhaustion will not usually need emergency medical attention if they cool down within 30 minutes.

Signs/symptoms of heat exhaustion

Treatment for heat exhaustion

  • Tiredness, dizziness
  • Weakness, feeling faint
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps in limbs or abdomen
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Heavy sweating
  • Intense thirst
  • Move to a cool place – a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
  • Remove excessive clothing such as jackets, jumpers or socks
  • Re-hydrate with cool water, or a sports drink
  • Monitor for signs of heat stroke (see below)

If action is not taken to cool the body down, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is when body temperature is dangerously high and the body is no longer able to cool down.

Signs/symptoms of heat stroke

Treatment for heat stroke

  • Confusion
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Seizures
  • Move to a cool place – a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
  • Cool the body quickly – spray cool water onto exposed skin, cold packs in armpits and neck
  • Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you think someone has heatstroke you should dial 999

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