Beat the heat this summer

Although most of us welcome the summer sun, high temperatures can be harmful to your health. In one hot spell in August 2003 in England and Wales there were over 2,000 extra deaths than would normally be expected. Public Health England have produced a guide to staying safe in hot weather click here to view it.


Who is at risk?

The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. Those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat include the following:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition, particularly dementia, heart, breathing or mobility problems
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control (for example, diuretics, antihistamines, beta-blockers and antipsychotics)
  • people who are already ill and dehydrated (for example, from gastroenteritis)
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs or people who are physically active (for example, soldiers, athletes, hikers and manual workers)
  • homeless people

There are some simple things you can do to keep you and your family well:

  • Look after yourself, check on others especially older people
  • Listen to the weather forecast and the news
  • Plan ahead to avoid the heat
  • Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Slow down and avoid heavy activity
  • Know how to keep your home cool
  • Go indoors or outdoors, whichever feels cooler
  • Cars get hot, avoid closed spaces
  • Be on the lookout for signs of heat related illness
  • If you’re too hot, cool your skin with water, slow down and rehydrate
  • Get help. Speak to your pharmacist, call NHS 111 or in an emergency 999

Advice and Information resources

Visit the NHS Choices Summer Health pages

Download the Beat the heat: keep cool at home (checklist)

Download the Beat the heat: staying safe in hot weather leaflet
Download the Beat the Heat poster