Health Tips for Hot Weather
As Brits, we spend a lot of time bemoaning the long, grey winters and looking forward to the (hopeful) sunshine of the summer months. Although getting out on the sunshine has many health benefits, it also comes with its fair share of risks. Read on for tips on how to stay safe in the sunshine.
When is hot weather dangerous?
With adequate sun protection most sunny days are perfectly safe to go about your usual life, however, if your area is experiencing a heatwave, you will need to take extra precautions. A heatwave is a period of time in which an area experiences at least three consecutive days of reaching (or exceeding) a specific temperature. The Met Office website has more information on this, as it varies by location.
The main concerns during a heatwave are dehydration, caused by lack of fluids; overheating; heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
Elderly people, babies and the very young, people with chronic illnesses, those with Alzheimer’s, and outdoor workers are among those most susceptible to heat-related problems.
The best advice is to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when it is at its hottest. If you must be outside, cover up with light clothes and a sun hat, and use adequate sunscreen. Avoid doing any activity that may increase the risk of dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, and drink plenty of cool fluids, and cool your skin down with cold water if you start to feel too hot.
Keeping your home cool
Homes in the UK aren’t generally built for extreme temperatures and can feel very hot in the summer months. To mitigate this, keep windows closed in the daytime with curtains and blinds closed, opening them at night as the outside temperature cools down.
Signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion
Keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, particularly in the most vulnerable. Signs can include:
Feeling or being sick
Fast breathing or heart rate
Pale, clammy skin
If someone is suffering from heatstroke or heat exhaustion, take steps to cool them down and seek medical help if you are struggling to treat them.