Keeping cool in summer
Keeping yourself cool in the summer is very important, especially
for older people or those with chronic or severe illnesses.
We can all help by looking out for signs that someone may
need help, especially in hot weather.
If the temperature exceeds 31° during the day and 16° at night
you may get dehydrated and you may overheat. In extreme
circumstances heatstroke can develop which can be fatal.
There is a link between the hot weather and higher death rates
during periods of extreme heat, particularly for those people aged
over 75 years, babies and young children and those with
certain medical conditions.
Factors that may increase the risk of being affected by hot
- Old age
Women over 75 years old are more
at risk than older men.
- Babies and young children
- Chronic and severe illness
conditions, diabetes, respiratory/renal conditions, Parkinson’s
disease or severe mental illness can all influence how you are
affected by the heat. For example, medications may affect the
body’s ability to sweat.
- Inability to adapt behaviour to keep
You may not be in a position to change your routine in the event of
extreme temperatures. For example, people with Alzheimers, a
disability and being bed bound.
- Environmental factors
People who live
in south facing or top floor accommodation within urban areas
are more likely to been impacted by the heat.
- High ozone levels
Ozone levels are highest during the hottest part of the day
and affect those with respiratory symptoms.
If anyone you know is likely to be at risk during a heatwave
then you can help them get the advice they need to stay safe.
Older people living on their own should be contacted daily to make
sure they are OK.
Watch out for the danger signs of heat exhaustion and heat
- Headaches and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Pale skin and a high temperature
- Hot, dry, red skin
- Convulsions and loss of consciousness.
What you can do
There are sensible steps that can be taken to keep yourself cool
during the summer months:
- Listen to the weather forecast so you know if hot weather is on
- Keep out of the heat, especially between 11am and 3pm which is
the hottest part of the day.
- Stay in the coolest rooms of your home as much as possible
- Wear loose fitting cotton clothing
- Splashing your face and back of your neck with cool water will
help keep you cool
- Keep curtains closed
- Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is
outside. Open them when the temperature outside cools down
- Drink plenty of fluids (especially water and fruit juice). Try
and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol
- Eat normally but try and include cold foods in your diet such
as salad or fruit to increase your water intake
- Call 999 if you suspect someone has heatstroke. Whilst waiting
for the ambulance, try to cool them down and if conscious
encourage them to drink fluids. Do not give aspirin or