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Although warm weather is usually seen as a good thing, severe hot weather can have negative health effects. For some, particularly the very young, the elderly and those who have a chronic or severe illness, severe hot weather can be quite dangerous.

Advice for staying cool in the heat

Advice for being safe in the heat includes:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF30 with UVA protection, wear a wide brimmed hat and light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
  • Drink lots of cool drinks and when travelling ensure you take water with you. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially older people, infants, young children or animals
  • If medicines are sensitive to temperature it may be worth keeping them in the fridge
  • Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C
  • Take early action – seek advice from your local pharmacy if you have a long term health condition and are starting to feel unwell before it gets more serious

If you are concerned about an adult, you can call the Richmond Council Access Team on 020 8891 7971 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Heatwave and COVID-19

Even during a relatively cool summer, 1 in 5 homes in England are likely to overheat. People who have had a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate, usually at home.

In preparation for warmer weather, use a simple heatwave checklist to find out if your home is at risk of overheating and find out what you can do if there is a problem.

For more information, have a look at a leaflet on how to cope with heat and COVID-19.

Cool Spaces are areas where Londoners can take respite on hot days. When using outdoor Cool Spaces such as parks and green spaces, please remember to follow appropriate COVID-19 guidelines

Heatwave Plan for England

The Heatwave Plan for England contains practical things we can all do to minimise the risks to our health in extremely hot weather. If you are a local agency, you should familiarise yourself with the plan for further details on how to support people you work with.

The plan offers advice that can help prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England. This page also has guidance leaflets on staying safe in hot weather and keeping cool at home and other settings such as early years or care homes

Local agencies have a duty to alert and respond to heatwave and are required register to Heath Health Alert service to keep the public informed and safe.

Further advice

For vulnerable groups

For professionals



Updated: 15 July 2021