How to stay cool during the heatwave

People enjoy the sunshine on Brighton Beach.
People enjoy the sunshine on Brighton Beach. Photo: Ruth Lumley/PA Wire

The Met Office has issued a 'level 3' health warning in the south east of England with temperatures expected to soar yet again across the UK.

As emergency and social services prepare for the heat there are things you can do to stay cool and enjoy the weather safely.

More: Watch the latest UK weather forecast here

Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm during the heat of the day.
Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm during the heat of the day. Credit: Tobias Hase/DPA/Press Association Images

Hot weather can cause dehydration, overheating (which can exacerbate heart and breathing problems), heat exhaustion and heatstroke. It is important to keep cool and plan ahead as the mercury rises.

How to stay 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. Open windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and avoid going out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day).
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.
  • 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.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.
Drink plenty and fluids and stay hydrated during the hot weather.
Drink plenty and fluids and stay hydrated during the hot weather. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

In this continued hot weather, it's important to remember that high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson's disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport.

Employers should ensure indoor areas are kept cool and consider allowing these individuals to travel to or from their place of work during cooler, or less busy, times of the day.

For those working or exercising outdoors, strenuous physical exertion during the hottest part of the day should be kept to a minimum.

The key message for healthy individuals is to follow public health messages on how to enjoy the sun safely by staying cool, drinking lots of cold fluids and checking on those you know are at risk.

– Dr Angie Bone, heatwave plan leader for Public Health England
Four year old Kadie Lane cools down in Whitley Bay.
Four year old Kadie Lane cools down in Whitley Bay. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Who is most at risk?

A heatwave can affect anyone, and everyone should try and avoid the heat but the most vulnerable people in extreme heat are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active, for example labourers or those doing sports
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to sunburn.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to sunburn. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Sunburn

Prevention is better than cure with sunburn and it is better to use sunscreen and use shade to avoid the any burns.

If you have suffered from sunburn you should avoid further exposure to sunlight and cover any sunburned areas until it has healed.

You can use lukewarm water to cool any sunburn and you should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

For mild sunburn after sun or moisturiser can help soothe the skin.

Fore more information see the NHS website.