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Staying cool in a heatwave

Bright, hot summer days are what many of us look forward to for the rest of the year – especially in cold, wet England!

However, while we’re enjoying the balmy days of summer, we should not forget that the temperature can get too high, that it can become uncomfortably hot, and for some, it can become dangerously hot.

10 tips for staying cool:

  • A loose, cotton, damp cloth or scarf on the back of the neck, or spraying or splashing your face and the back of your neck with cold water several times a day can help keep you cool.
  • Stay inside, in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
  • Reduce heat from sunlight coming through the windows. External shading, e.g. shutters, is best. Metal blinds and dark curtains may absorb heat and make the room warmer – it is best to use pale curtains or reflective material.
  • Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation.
  • If you are worried about security, at least open windows on the first floor and above.
  • Indoor and outdoor plants will help keep your home cool due to evaporation and the shading from trees and bushes.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best.
  • Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
  • Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.

Seek advice if you have any concerns:

  • Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS 111 if you are worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms.
  • Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping.
  • If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.

Why is a heatwave a problem?

The main risks posed by a heatwave are:
  • dehydration (not having enough water) 
  • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • heat exhaustion 
  • heatstroke

A heatwave often means a high or very high pollen count, which is bad news for people suffering with hay fever. Click to read advice for coping with hay fever

Stay safe in the sun

The Association of Dermatologists have developed a range of Sun Awareness guidance and guides to checking your skin. 

They have also developed a new App in partnership with the Met Office to provide a free daily UV forecast. 

Visit: www.bad.org.uk for more information

Sun Awareness Campaign
British Association of Dermatologists

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