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Staying cool in hot weather

Lots of us look forward to a bit of hot weather – but it can present risks to your health. That's why it's so important to know how best to manage the heat and what to do if you become unwell.

Age Scotland’s Top Tips during hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of liquids throughout the day, even if you aren’t thirsty. There is plenty of good quality, cool water in our taps and also at a wide range of outdoor refilling points across the country for when you are out and about. Limit drinks with alcohol as these can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • If you have neighbours or relatives who live alone and who are frail or coping with health issues visit or phone to check that they are ok. Heat stroke is a very serious, ultimately life-threatening condition that can develop if someone experiences heat exhaustion and it is left untreated.
  • Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – 11am to 3pm. If you do go out use sunscreen of factor 30 or above, wear a hat and keep in the shade if possible.
  • When inside, try to keep your house cool. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun and shut windows to keep hot air out and cool air in. Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Have cool baths or showers and splash yourself with cool water. Sprinkling clothes with water regularly, splashing cool water on the face and a damp cloth on the back of the neck helps temperature regulation.
  • Change the timings of activities - If you have a routine walk that you like to take, make sure you do this at a different time of the day when it is cooler such as in the early morning or evening. Also limit or avoid strenuous activities like housework and gardening.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruits as they contain a lot of water.
  • Choose the right clothes. Light-coloured, loose cotton clothing can help you stay cool in the heat. Dark colours absorb the light and can make you feel even warmer.
  • Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV, radio and online at

Staying hydrated

Read or download our free guide for helpful tips on how to stay hydrated, information on how your body uses water and key signs to look out for.

Be extra careful in very hot weather.

Watch out for signs of dehydration – confusion, cramps, dark urine and feeling weak. You don’t have to feel thirsty to be dehydrated.

Be careful to avoid heat exhaustion – the symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and a fast pulse. If you feel unwell, lie down in a cool room, drink plenty of water and cool yourself with a splash of water.

Heat exhaustion could lead to heatstroke. Symptoms include falling unconscious and seizures. Call 999 immediately if you think you or someone might have heatstroke.

If you know it’s going to be particularly hot and you think you might struggle, ask someone to check on you. Equally, check on someone else you think might struggle in the heat.

The Age Scotland Helpline

Our free 0800 12 44 222 helpline is a free, confidential phone service for older people, their carers and families in Scotland. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.


Last updated: Sep 16 2022

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