Stay cool this summer

The summer sun is a welcome change to the dreary weather we have experienced until now. The sun brings a lot of fun for people, but it also brings a lot of danger which needs to be managed accordingly.
To highlight the dangers and how to reduce them, the NHS has produced a heatwave plan.

The main health risks of a heat wave.

Heat exhaustion

The symptoms of heat exhaustion can develop rapidly. They include:

  • Your skin feeling very hot and flushed
  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Mental confusion
  • Urinating less often and the colour of your urine being much darker than usual.

Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone in hot weather and if it isn't treated it can lead to heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even fatal.


Heat exhaustion leads to heat stroke. The symptoms can develop over several days if you are spending a long time somewhere hot and can appear more quickly after physical activity.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • High body temperature: having a temperature of 40°C (104°F) or above is a major sign of heatstroke
  • Heavy sweating that suddenly stops: if the body is unable to produce any more sweat then this is a big warning sign that the body has become over-heated and dehydrated
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle cramps.

If you or anyone else feels unwell, drink water and go somewhere cool to rest. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, weakness or cramps get worse or don't go away, seek medical help

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Tips for staying cool

The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it’s safe, open them 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 fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or at the Met Office website
  • 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, a hat and sun block if you go outdoors
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves
  • Carry water with you (It is best to drink 15 minutes before travelling).

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