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Summer heatwave advice

What should you do?

Mostly, it’s a matter of common sense. Listen to your local weather forecast so you know if a heatwave is on the way. Plan ahead to reduce the risk of ill health from the heat.

Website: Met Office website for local forecasts (opens in a new window)

Top tips for keeping cool

It is best for your health to avoid getting too hot in the first place. Remember to think of those who may be more at risk the young, the old and the vulnerable. Below are some tips to keep yourself and others cool and what to do if someone feels unwell.

Stay out of the heat

  • keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sun screen and wear a hat and light scarf
  • avoid extreme physical exertion
  • wear light, loose-fitting/cotton clothes

Website: National Heatwave Plan from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: Check out the NHS heatwave advice (opens in a new window)

Cool yourself down

  • have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with high water content
  • take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck

Website: AGE UK for Staying cool in a heatwave (opens in a new window)

Take steps to avoid wildfires 

  • allow at least 6m spacing between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • don’t smoke inside tents.
  • never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
  • if you must have an open fire it should be downwind, at least 10m from the tent or caravan.
  • clear dry vegetation, such as leaves and twigs and form a circle of earth around the fire
  • do not leave fires unattended
  • make sure that fires are fully extinguished after use
  • if a fire should breakout call the fire and rescue service and give the exact location
  • never throw cigarette ends out of a car window – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside
  • don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin

Website: For more tips check out this advice on preventing wildfires from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (opens in a new window)

Stay safe while on the roads

  • consider carrying extra water or fluids, high energy snacks, a hat to protect your head and extra sun lotion
  • ensure your mobile phone has plenty of battery life before you set off
  • carry out the usual vehicle checks including trye pressures
  • remember if you do flip the air conditioning on in the car, to stay cool whilst on the move, it will use more fuel than your used to so keep an eye on your fuel level as well
  • this heat will make you more drowsy so be aware of that while driving. Fatigue may be a problem if you’ve had a poor night sleep due to the hot weather before your planned journey

Find more tips from Highways England summer driving advice (opens in a new window)

Be aware of the dangers of open water

  • don't jump or dive into open water; submerged objects such as rocks may not be visible and can cause serious injuries
  • never swim in open water when there are no lifeguards present
  • be aware that there may be strong currents, even where the water surface appears calm
  • weirs, locks, pipes and sluices are especially dangerous
  • always keep away from the water’s edge and closely supervise young children
  • alcohol may impair your ability and judgment; never go swimming under the influence
  • quarries are dangerous places, even for the most competent of swimmers. The water can be very deep and cold, putting you at risk of hypothermia and cold shock, which can prevent your muscles from functioning properly

Find more information on water safety from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (opens in a new window)

Look out for others

  • keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool
  • ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars
  • check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave
  • be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed

If you have a health problem

  • keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator 9read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications

If you or other feel unwell

  • try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
  • drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
  • rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes
  • medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
  • consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist