Keeping safe during the hot weather
15 June 2023
Over the past couple of days, hospital services across south west London have seen a surge in people due to extreme heat, pollen, and pollution levels. There are high numbers of people attending with breathing difficulties, and older people who are dehydrated.
As temperatures continue to rise, you should take extra care to protect your health and the health of those around you. Please read the tips below to ensure you remain safe and well, during extreme heat.
The top ways for keeping safe in the heat include:
- Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Older people, those with underlying conditions, and those who live alone are particularly at risk of becoming unwell during a heatwave. If you have an elderly neighbour who lives on their own, consider checking in on them
- While it is hot, drink plenty of water and fluids, and avoid going out in the sun and drinking excess alcohol. Drinking water and staying out of the sun are most important for staying well
- Close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember, it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- Use cool spaces if going outdoors, like parks with plenty of trees. Find out about more cool spaces available in London
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, vulnerable adults, or animals
- Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
- If you have to go outside in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Avoid physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day
- Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
- While swimming can be a nice way to cool off, do not be tempted to jump into the River Thames
Look out for 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
If you, or your child has asthma or other respiratory conditions:
- Keep taking your regular medication and remember to always take your preventer inhaler with you when you’re out and about, due to current high pollen and pollution, combined with extreme heat
- Stay indoors wherever possible, keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible
- If you do need to go outside, shower and change your clothes to wash pollen off
Read the government guidance on staying safe in hot weather, where you can also read more about the Adverse Weather and Health Plan, which aims to protect individuals and communities from health affects of adverse weather. Additionally, for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, you can read tips to manage your asthma.
The NHS is still here for people who need care. If you need medical help or advice to please go to NHS 111 website first, unless it is a life-threatening emergency in which case, call 999.
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.
Further information on heatstroke and heat-related illness are available on the NHS website.
Up to: June 2023
Updated: 15 June 2023