Keeping cool in a heatwave

We all love the sunshine, but it is really important to be ready for the summer heat as it can catch you by surprise.

You may not know this, but heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated.

It's important to be aware of friends and neighbours during a heatwave and to let people know if you are on your own and have any concerns.

Here are our top tips for staying cool

  • Don’t spend long periods sitting or working outside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid-afternoon
    If you’re travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water
    Avoid strenuous activity, and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler
    When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun
    Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler
    Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured, cotton clothing.
    Take cool baths or showers
    Splash your face with cool (not very cold) water, or place a damp cloth on the back of your neck to help you cool off
    Drink lots of fluid – even if you aren’t thirsty
    Eat normally – even if you aren’t hungry, you need a normal diet to replace salt losses from sweating. In addition, try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit, as these contain a lot of water
    Don’t spend long periods sitting or working outside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid-afternoon
  • If you’re travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water
  • Avoid strenuous activity, and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun
  • Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured, cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers
  • Splash your face with cool (not very cold) water, or place a damp cloth on the back of your neck to help you cool off
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you aren’t thirsty
  • Eat normally – even if you aren’t hungry, you need a normal diet to replace salt losses from sweating. In addition, try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit, as these contain a lot of water

What else can you do to stay cool?

Keep an eye on the weather reports, which will let you know if a heatwave is on its way. Also if you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot, so it may be a good idea to contact your GP for advice.

Our guide takes you through how to avoid unpleasant side effects from the heat. It also explains how you recognise heat-related symptoms and what to do if someone shows signs of them. The guide also includes useful contact information.

Download our guide for more information:

opens link in new window IL1: Staying cool in a heatwave (PDF 102 KB)

Advice line:
08000 223 444
 

Close window
Display options

Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily

Text size

Background/foreground


To see information relating to England, Northern Ireland or Scotland set your preference below: