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Hot weather health advice

Hot weather health advice
19 June 2017

The Met Office has issued a Level 3 Alert today (19 June 2017) advising that there is a 90% probability of heatwave conditions in London between 9am today and 9am on Thursday 22 June.

The expected hot weather may put some people at risk of heat-related health issues.

Sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and dehydration (not drinking enough water) can occur and overheating, can make symptoms worse for those with who already have problems with their heart or breathing.

Tips for keeping cool and well:

  • Protect your skin from strong sunlight by covering up with suitable clothing, finding shade, and applying sunscreen
  • In the UK, the risk of getting sunburn is highest from March to October, particularly from 11am to 3pm, when the sun's rays are strongest but you can also burn in cloudy and cool conditions
  • When buying sunscreen, make sure it's suitable for your skin and blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. The sunscreen label should have:
    • letters "UVA" in a circular logo and at least 4-star UVA protection
    • a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to protect against UVB
  • 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.

If you are unwell due to the heat, call the free NHS 111 number this weekend.

Most vulnerable

The higher temperatures can affect anyone but the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children

Those at greater risk also include people with:

  • a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke
  • serious mental health problems.

People can also have problems if:

  • they are on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • misuse alcohol or drugs
  • they are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports.

More information can be found online via NHS Choices. Public Health England has a Beat the Heat leaflet available.

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