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health and wellbeing

Keeping cool during hot weather

DescriptionHot weather brings health risks, so it’s important to be aware of how to keep cool and to be aware of anyone who might be at risk during the hot weather such as friends, family or neighbours.

Some of the people particularly at risk of health problems in hot weather are very young people, elderly people and people with health conditions or disabilities. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse. The main risks during hot weather are dehydration (not having enough water), overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

You should try to keep out of the heat and drink water or fruit juice regularly to keep cool during hot weather. Try these tips to help you stay cool, comfortable and avoid health risks:

- Try to stay out of the sun as much as possible
- Try to avoid going out between 11am and 3pm, the hottest part of the day
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors
- Splash yourself with cool water
- Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice
- Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as they can make dehydration worse
- Stay in the coolest room in your home as much as possible
- Use shades or light-coloured curtains to keep rooms cool
- Shut windows and pull down shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.

It’s important to also check on those who may be less able to look after themselves. If someone feels unwell, take them somewhere cool to rest and give them plenty to drink. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don’t go away, seek medical help.

Visit the NHS Choices web pages:

Telephone number111 (for urgent medical help or advice when it's not a 999 emergency)

Record last updated: 22 July 2014