News story

Hot weather health warnings: 2018

Warmer weather forecasts for parts of England have prompted warnings to take care from Public Health England (PHE).

Sunny sky

With a Met Office forecast for a spell of warmer weather for the coming days Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to think now how they’ll handle summer heat this year.

The latest forecast from the Met Office suggests that this weekend there could be high temperatures in many places. Although temperatures like this can be pleasant for many, there are some older people, young children and those with heart and lung conditions whose bodies will struggle to cope and could feel the ill-effects.

Dr Thomas Waite, a public health consultant at PHE, said:

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy.

This bank holiday weekend is a really good time to think about what you can do to protect you and your family and friends’ health throughout the summer and warmer weather.

It is also currently Ramadan. If you start to feel unwell, disoriented or confused, or collapse or faint, advice is to stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid. This is especially important for older adults, those with poorly controlled medical conditions such as low or high blood pressure, diabetes and those who are receiving dialysis treatment. The Muslim Council of Britain has confirmed that breaking fast in such conditions is allowable under Islamic law. Also, make sure to check on others in the community who may be at greater risk to ensure they are having a safe and healthy Ramadan. Guidance is available on NHS Choices.

For some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can make you more dehydrated
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes
  • make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling

Frank Saunders, the Met Office’s Chief Meteorologist said:

Although some places will see cloud and heavy thunderstorms over the bank holiday weekend, many areas will be dry with plenty of sunshine. Where it’s sunniest, particularly in the south and south east, it’ll feel very warm with temperatures rising into the mid to high twenties and possibly a very localised 30 Celsius in the strongest sunshine.

Published 25 May 2018