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On the subject of heat – while we welcome the sunshine in this country, most of us surely struggle with the heatwave which hit us a couple of weeks ago and looks set to make a return in the next few days.  

So, it seems timely to remind ourselves of the special precautions we can be taking to protect everyone, particularly those who are vulnerable and find it harder to stay cool, including young children and older people, in the warmer weather. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Keep informed – listen to the news about the weather on TV/radio. The Met Office offers excellent information and health warnings and UK-AIR worth checking out for those particularly affected by air pollution levels The British Red Cross also has a useful app
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of cool drinks (water, milk and diluted juice are ideal) and even include more cooler foods in your diet, such as salad items, which have a high water content. Try to avoid excess alcohol, caffeinated drinks and those high in sugar.
  • Never leave children or animals in stationary cars, or enclosed spaces, which can get dangerously hot very rapidly. Be aware of children in prams/pushchairs – they should be kept in the shade with adequate air flow and regularly checked to avoid overheating.
  • Be cool – choose loose, light weight cotton clothing. Enjoy a cool bath/shower and splash yourself/your children with cool water, particularly around the pulse points – neck/wrists.
  • Plan ahead – avoid going out if you don’t have to. If you do need to go out, always wear a hat, suitable broad-spectrum sunscreen (see for more) and UV sunglasses, take plenty of water with you and remain in the shade where possible. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm) if you can.  
  • If you have children who are out of the house for large portions of the day (e.g. at school or nursery) always make sure they have suncream applied in the morning to last them the day, and that they are equipped with a hat for wearing outside.  Schools and nurseries cannot apply suncream to their pupils, so they will expect your child to arrive prepared.  
  • Slow down – avoid heavy physical exertion, or at least keep it for cooler parts of the day – the early morning or evening.
  • Keep cooler inside – stay in your coldest rooms with non essential lights and electrical items turned off. Close windows and curtains during the day, opening them for ventilation once it has cooled down in the latter part of the day.
  • Know the signs and what action to take – heat exhaustion and heatstroke are serious conditions which can occur if you get too hot. If you are concerned about anyone you can call NHS 111 – for an emergency 999.
  • For more summer health advice please see