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Keeping safe in hot weather

Most of us look forward to the summer months and warmer weather, but when temperatures rise there are some risks we need to be aware of.

Risks

The main risks are dehydration and overheating, leading to possible heat stroke and sunburn.

Older people, clinically vulnerable people, young children and babies, and those who spend a lot of time outside or working in hot places will be at an increased risk.

How to cope

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Take water with you when travelling.
  • Apply sunscreen before going outside, topping up every 2 hours or after swimming.
  • Walk in the shade if you can, and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Stay inside during the hottest part of the day, typically between 11 am and 3 pm.
  • Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day.
  • Keep your home cool – open windows and close curtains in rooms that face the sun.
  • Never leave young children or animals alone in a closed, parked car or another vehicle.

Getting help

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes. If it turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

To cool down, move to a cool place, either inside or under shade, lie down and slightly raise your feet, drink plenty of water and cool your skin with a sponge or spray.