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Couple sitting in the garden

A little bit of sunshine is good for us and can lift our spirits – let’s face it can often be a welcome change from the summer downpours, however the sun can be strong and too much sunshine can be damaging to our health.

Please be mindful of older friends, relatives, neighbours during hot days and heatwaves and let them know you’re there.

Share your concerns with relatives, friends, neighbours or your GP if you are concerned about the hot weather.

Heat exhaustion can happen when we become dehydrated and if left undetected and untreated can result in heat stroke which can be life threatening for some.

Here are our top tips for staying cool

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water based fluids or milk (avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks) keeps us hydrated and helps to regulate our body temperature to stop us from over-heating.
  • Always carry a bottle of water or squash to sip throughout the day. Particularly if you are travelling by car or public transport.
  • Dress for the weather – light-coloured, cotton clothing, lightweight and loose fitting.
  • Eat as normal – even if you aren’t particularly hungry. Cold foods can be refreshing and cooling – raw vegetables, salads and fruit are full of water so can help to keep you cool and hydrated. Some salt is recommended to replace that lost in sweating.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and activity. Limit activities such as gardening and housework to when it’s cooler such as early morning or evening time.
  • Don’t spend long periods sitting or working outside during the hottest time of the day: late morning to mid-afternoon (11:00am – 3:00pm).
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat, sun-screen factor 30+ and sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses conform with safety standards by looking for the CE mark. All sunglasses that meet the British standard will carry the ‘CE‘ mark which should be visible on the sunglasses.
  • If you become uncomfortably hot – place your hands in cool water, use a flannel to place on the back of your neck, splash your face.
  • Take cool baths or showers, or a footbath.
  • Keep your home cool. Keep curtains and blinds closed that are sun facing.
  • Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them as it gets hotter inside. When inside try to stay in the cooler parts of your home.

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

Further information


You may find the following document(s) useful

You can download other guides and factsheets from our list of publications

For more information: Call our Advice line: 08000 223 444