Beat the heat - coping with heat

Stay cool, keep well

Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol

Why is this important?

Fluid requirements are higher than normal in hot weather and after strenuous activity, to replace fluids lost through sweating.

Everyone is at risk of dehydration in hot temperatures, but babies, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Keeping hydrated will be especially important for people who are unwell with an infection and managing their symptoms at home.

Those who have been unwell and are recovering, particularly those who have been discharged from hospital, are likely to be more vulnerable to risks from heat stress and dehydration due to complications, for example, damage to their kidneys.

What can I do?

Look out for signs of dehydration such as increased thirst, a dry mouth, dark urine, and urinating infrequently or in small amounts. Serious dehydration needs urgent medical attention, more information is available at the NHS Dehydration webpage.

Drink plenty of fluids: water, lower-fat milk and tea and coffee are good options.

Fruit juice, smoothies and soft drinks do count towards your fluid intake but can be high in sugar. Limit fruit juice or smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day and swap sugary soft drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar varieties.

Detailed advice on hydration for different groups of people, including older people is available on the British Nutrition Foundation Healthy hydration webpage.

Slow down when it is hot

Why is this important?

Heavy activity can make you prone to heat-related illnesses, even if you are fit and healthy.

What can I do?

Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day – for example, in the early morning or evening.

Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are above 30°C.

If walking or cycling to work, listen to the forecast and take it easy if the weather is hot, especially if you are travelling in the hottest part of the day.

Stay connected, listen to the forecast

Why is this important?

Knowing the forecast can help you plan ahead and adapt as necessary.

Heatwaves may affect other services, such as power and water supplies, and transport. Air pollution can become worse during periods of hot weather.

What can I do?

Listen to the news to be aware of when a heatwave has been forecast and how long it is likely to last.

Connect with vulnerable neighbours and family members to check if they are coping with the heat, know how to adapt their home and have everything they need.

Check the weather forecast and any high-temperature health warnings at the Met Office website.

Health advice for the general population and those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution is available from UK AIR by calling 0800 55 66 77 (recorded information) or visiting the UK Air information resource webpage.

Beat the heat checklist

This helps you to identify if a home may be at risk of overheating and if occupants there may be at risk of ill health from overheating. The second part details how to reduce overheating and where to get help.

Download the beat the heat checklist