Although warm weather is usually thought of as a good thing, severe hot weather can have negative health effects. A heatwave can affect anyone, but those most vulnerable include:
- Older people
- People who have serious or long-term illnesses
- Those who struggle to keep cool, including but not limited to babies, the very young and the bed bound
- People who spend a lot of time outdoors or in hot places, such as those who live in top floor flats or have jobs outside
Advice for coping in hot weather
Advice for being safe in the heat includes:
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when the UV rays are the strongest
- Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly 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 plenty of fluids and when travelling ensure you take water with you. Avoid excess alcohol
- Look out for others especially those particularly vulnerable to the heat such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- If medicines are sensitive to temperature, try keeping them in the fridge
- Avoid physical exertion on very hot days, and during the hottest parts of the day
- if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
- Utilise Cool Spaces London for places of refuge for Londoners when temperatures are excessively high
- 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, contact the Adult Social Care team.
Adverse Weather and Health Plan
The Adverse Weather and Health Plan aims to protect individuals and communities from the health effects of adverse weather and to build community resilience.
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. It 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 heatwaves and are required to register for the Heat-Health Alert service so they can receive alerts and advice to keep the public informed and safe. If you were already registered on the Heat-Health Alert service last year, you will need to re-register as the alerting system has changed. The Heat Health Alerts have transitioned to an impact-based, colour coded alert system as of the 1 June 2023.
For more information:
- Follow the Met Office alerts alerts, so you are prepared for when the heat strikes.
- Check with NHS for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke
- Follow NHS summer health advice
- Met Office Health and Wellbeing pages offer useful information on how to cope with extremely hot weather, hay fever, pollen, UV lighting and many more.
For the vulnerable:
- Keeping your baby safe in the sun - NHS
- How can I help someone sleeping rough in hot weather? - Homeless Link
- Keeping a person with dementia safe during hot weather - Dementia UK
- Dehydration - NHS
- How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather - Alzheimer's UK
- Sunscreen and sun safety - NHS
- Download the free British Red Cross emergency app for heatwave alerts and advice
- Consult the Highway Code on driving in adverse weather conditions
- Visit Cool Spaces London for a map of cool and shaded places of refuge for Londoners when temperatures are excessively high
- View the Adverse Weather and Health Plan and further government resources including leaflets and posters
- Download a training slideset on the health impacts of hot weather and the Heatwave Plan for England for the health and social care system and the voluntary sector
- Review Heat-health risks and COVID-19: Actions to prevent harm
Up to: Severe weather
Updated: 09 June 2023