Keeping your cool as the weather heats up
Everyone looks forward to some summer sunshine but it's worth remembering that when the temperature goes up it can present health risks.
While we are under social distancing measures because of COVID-19 it is even more important than usual to be aware of and protect against these risks.
The importance of staying cool and keeping well in hot weather cannot be over-estimated, and older people can be particularly susceptible to heat-related illness. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated. Look out for yourself and other people in your household. Provide whatever support you can - even if only remotely - to friends and neighbours. This is particularly important for those living alone but only if you can do this safely.
Tips for staying cool in hot weather
1. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day - late morning to mid-afternoon If you go outside for one of the currently accepted reasons, use sunscreen of factor 30 or above, wear a hat and stay in the shade if possible.
2. When inside, try to keep your house cool - Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun.
3. Avoid or limit strenuous activities like housework and gardening - Try to do these activities when it's cooler in the early morning or evening.
4. If you are heading out for essential trips or daily exercise always carry a bottle of water and drink lots of fluid even if you aren't thirsty - Drink lots of water but limit drinks with caffeine and avoid alcohol as it can make dehydration worse.
5. Choose the right clothes - It may sound obvious, but 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.
6. Think about your feet - Allowing your feet to breathe is important when the weather is hot so wearing open toe sandals is an excellent way to stop your feet getting sweaty and smelly. Avoid flip flops, which can be hard to walk in and opt for sandals which support your feet. Sandals that fasten with Velcro or adjustable straps are a good idea if your feet swell up in the heat.
7. Cool off with cold water - Take nice cool baths or showers. Try splashing your face with cold water or placing a cool damp cloth on the back of your neck.
8. Eat normally but try to have more cold foods - Salads and fruits are particularly good as they contain a lot of water.
9. Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings - You can find these on TV, radio, Met Office mobile app <https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/feed/services/mobile-digital-services/weather-app/index.xml> or Met Office website <https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/feed/public/weather/index.xml>
10. If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat - It's important to be aware of friends and neighbours during a heat wave and to let people know if you are on your own and have any concerns. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated.
Age UK offer lots more tips on staying cool in a heatwave visit: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/staying-cool-in-a-heatwave/
(Source: The Met Office & Age UK)