It is important that we keep cool to stay healthy in heatwave conditions. Danger symptoms to watch out for in such weather include: feeling dizzy or faint, easily becoming short of breath, increasing confusion and/or vomiting. Below are our ‘top ten tips’ to help you keep cool:
1. Keep your fluid intake up. Cold water is best:- avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.
2. Keep windows closed when the room is cooler than outside temperatures. At night, when outside temperatures have dropped, open windows where there is no security risk.
3. Close curtains to shut out direct sunlight during the day. Alternatively, fit blinds as these can be closed during the day without blocking out the daylight, but note that metal blinds and dark curtains may absorb heat, and therefore make the room warmer – pale curtains and reflective materials are best.
4. Limit your sun exposure. Avoid being out in the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm)
5. When you are out, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton. Remember to take a drink with you.
6. Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
7. In your home, turn appliances you’re not using off. This will keep your property cooler and also save energy, helping to keep your bills manageable.
8. Make sure your fridge and freezer are working effectively. A fridge or freezer working too hard will expel excess heat. Keep it defrosted and keep the door shut as much as possible.
9. Insulating your loft and cavity walls will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Additionally, increase lagging on pipes and make sure your hot water tank has insulation. It will also save you £’s on your energy bills.
10. Look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children, babies and those with serious illnesses.
If you, or someone near you shows any of the symptoms of over-heating, take the following immediate action, as recommended by the Department of Health:
1) Cool down as quickly as possible (following the above tips)
2) Do not take aspirin or paracetamol unless these are prescribed for you, as these drugs could make the problems worse. You should continue to take all other prescribed medicines as normal.
3) Seek further advice from the NHS 111 service or your doctor.
4) Remember that heatstroke can kill, and can develop very suddenly and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 999 immediately.
Call the Affordable Warmth Helpline for additional tips on keeping cool: 0800 107 0044. This service can also post information out to you, including a thermometer card so you can see if your house is cool enough in summer, and warm enough in winter.
Check the weather forecast and any high temperature health warnings at www.metoffice.gov.uk
NHS Choices have a wide-range of advice available online at: www.nhs.uk Remember that the new non-emergency for the NHS is now ‘111’. This number can be called free of charge from mobiles and landlines, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Finally, advice is available on protecting your skin during hot weather from the Cancer Research UK ‘SunSmart’ campaign website: www.sunsmart.org.uk