Heat waves

Advice for protecting yourself and others

Whilst extreme heat is dangerous to everyone it is especially so to babies and young children, older people, those living in care homes, and those in certain at-risk groups.

When temperatures remain abnormally high over more than a couple of days, excessive heat can prove fatal.

If you care for people who could be at risk during a heatwave, it's important that you plan ahead - taking action in advance can help reduce the number of excess deaths from heat.

What symptoms should you look out for?

In a severe heatwave the body can overheat and dehydrate, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pale skin
  • a sudden rise in temperature

If you or someone you know is suffering from heat exhaustion you should move somewhere cool and drink plenty of water or fruit juice. If possible, take a lukewarm shower, or sponge yourself with cold water. If heat exhaustion is left untreated, heatstroke can develop, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.

How to cope

Listen to bulletins on radio and television and follow health advice.

If a heatwave is forecast, try to plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat; if possible, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am - 3pm).

If you can't avoid strenuous activity:

  • Stay in the shade.
  • Wear a hat and light loose fitting clothes
  • Take plenty of water with you.

Last reviewed: 14 - 02 - 2014

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