Many people enjoy hot weather but there can be serious health consequences from too much exposure to heat and vulnerable groups are at risk in particularly hot spells.
Some people, such as older adults, young children and those with long term conditions run a greater risk of serious harm. Therefore, it is important that we all take precautions to stay protected and protect the health of our family and friends.
Top tips to beat the heat
Check on others
- Check on older people or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during hot weather.
- Make sure you also keep an eye on your pets in the heat. Don’t forget that exercising your dog in hot weather or leaving them in a car on a hot day can cause serious health problems or much worse.
- Stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
- If you need to travel, ensure you take water with you.
- Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day. For example, in the early morning or evening.
Keeping your home cool
- Keep your environment cool: keeping your living space cool is especially important for those who need to stay at home this summer.
- Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. External shutters or shades, if you have
- them, are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat.
- If possible and safe, open windows at night if it feels cooler outside.
- Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
- During the hottest periods find the coolest part of your home or garden/outside or local green space to sit in. If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
During car journeys
- Ensure that babies, children, older people or pets are not left alone in parked cars, which can quickly overheat.
Look out for the signs of heat-related harm
- If you feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst and a headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate. Avoid excess alcohol.
- If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, or abdomen), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Most people should start to recover within 30 mins and if not, you should seek medical help. Call 111 if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist.
- Call 999 if a person develops any signs of heatstroke as this is a medical emergency.
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when UV radiation is strongest.
- If you have to go out in the heat, wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes. Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection and wear a hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should reduce the risk of sunburn.
Drowning risks in open water
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in the UK. Open water areas may look calm, cool and inviting during periods of high temperatures. However, under the surface there may be hidden dangers such as weeds, rocks, rubbish, branches, uneven levels and banks, or currents that could cause difficulties to a swimmer.
Despite the ongoing hot weather, open water can be very cold and the shock to the body can be extremely dangerous. Cold water shock is a physical response by the body when entering cold water and it can affect breathing, reduce muscle ability and even lead to a heart attack.
Woking borough offers two public indoor swimming pools, located at Pool in the Park and the Eastwood Leisure Centre, which are easy to access. If you’re looking for outdoor swimming options, there are also a number of managed open water facilities in neighbouring boroughs where swimming is permitted and supervised.
Grassland is extremely dry in this type of heat and even a small cigarette butt can destroy whole fields of crops.
Please do not leave bottles or glass in woodland as sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Simple measures can prevent unnecessary strain on our fire services who are expected to be very busy over the coming week. Please take you litter home and recycle where you can.
Use water wisely
During spells of warm and dry weather, there’s always a huge increase in demand for water as we like to use more in the garden, watering plants and filling up large paddling pools. This high usage decreases local water storage, which can impact on meeting demand for drinking water and for other essential uses.