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Severe heat during a summer heatwave can be very damaging to the health, and on rare occasions can be fatal. Find out what to do in the event of a heatwave and who is most at risk.



  • If a heatwave is forecast, try to plan your day so that you can avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm).
  • If you can't avoid strenuous activity like sport, DIY, or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning.
  • Ensure that you protect pets by either bringing them in or ensuring they are provided shade. Give them appropriate amounts of water for them and remember to refill as required.


Top tips for looking after yourself and others

  • If you are required to go out, attempt to stay in the shade, use a hat to protect your head and light loose fitting clothes, preferably made from cotton to keep your body cool.
  • Carry lots of water with you and use high protection sun screen to protect your skin from burning.
  • If possible, stay inside in the coolest rooms in the house closing curtains to reduce sunlight into the room. Open windows when the temperature is warmer inside and at night and close them when the room gets cooler.
  • Open windows in different locations throughout your home, leaving doors open if possible to create a breeze throughout the house which will aid the cooling process.
  • If you have the water, try and take cool showers or baths to reduce your temperature, alternatively splash yourself several times a day with cold water.
  • Focus on your face and the back of your neck, using a spray bottle of water if you are feeling particularly hot.
  • Drink regularly even when not thirsty, water and fruit juice are best. Try to avoid alcohol, tea and coffee.
  • Eat normally trying to eat cold food including salads and fruit (containing water).

Older people

Older people are more at risk from high temperatures, check on older neighbours or relatives, as often as possible (every day or more often if required), reminding them to drink plenty and often. Help them keep their house as cools as possible following the advice above. 

Babies and children under four

Babies and young children are particularly sensitive to the effects of high temperature and can get stressed and irritable. It is important to ensure that they are kept in shade and given regular drinks throughout the day to prevent them from dehydration. Although avoid sugary or fizzy drinks.

Recovery from a heatwave

  • Ensure you keep hydrated (drinking) until the heat has subsided.


  • In itself, hot weather will not trigger an evacuation. However, if you have created a grab bag, ensure it contains clothing appropriate to the conditions and plenty of bottled water.

Further information

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 13 Jun 2017 at 14:38