Staying cool in a heat wave

Staying cool in a heat wave

If a heat wave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know. Those most at risk are:

  • older people
  • babies and young children
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medication
  • people with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
  • people who already have a high temperature from an infection
  • misusing alcohol or illicit drugs
  • suffering from mobility problems
  • physically active, like manual workers or people taking part in sports

Beat the heat

The UK Health Security Agency has issued advice on protecting yourself and others in a heatwave.

Keep in touch


  • look after yourself, older people and the young
  • listen to the weather forecast and the news
  • plan ahead to avoid the heat

Keep well

Make sure that you:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • dress appropriately for the weather
  • slow down when it's hot

Find somewhere cool

Make sure you:

  • know how to keep cool in your home
  • go indoors or outdoors, whichever feels cooler
  • avoid closed spaces, including cars, which may become hot

Watch out

During a heatwave:

  • be on the lookout for signs of heat related illness
  • cool your skin with water, slow down and drink water
  • stay safe when swimming
  • get help - call 111 or in an emergency 999

For more information see:

Heatwave advice

This advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks.

However, if someone feels unwell:

  • get them somewhere cool to rest
  • give them plenty of fluids to drink

If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away, seek medical help.

Stay out of the heat:

  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat and light scarf
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes

Cool yourself down:

  • Have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.

Keep your environment cool:

  • Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or who can't look after themselves
  • Place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment they generate heat
  • Keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
  • Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C

Need more information?

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