Updated on Monday, 11 September: With warmer temperatures forecast, an amber Heat-Health Alert has been issued for the south-east, including Kent and Medway.
During hot weather, we all need to take sensible precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Young children, older people, those who are pregnant or who have long-term medical conditions or disabilities are the most affected by high temperatures.
Residents are encouraged to regularly check on their vulnerable friends and family and make sure they have plenty of water and supplies, including medication.
We can all enjoy the warm weather by following these simple steps to stay safe in the heat.
Our top tips are:
- keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
- if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade
- apply sunscreen of at least SPF30 with UVA protection. (Remember to reapply after swimming.)
- avoid extreme physical exertion – pace yourself
- wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes
Cool yourself down
There are lots of ways to keep yourself cool in the heat, including:
- drinking plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
- eating cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with high water content
- taking a cool shower or bath
- sprinkling water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck
Remember: do not enter tidal waters, including the River Medway, to try and cool down – it is very dangerous.
Keep your environment cool
Keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, older people, those with chronic health conditions and people who can’t look after themselves.
- place a thermometer in your main living space and bedroom to check the temperature.
- keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. Open windows at night when the temperature has dropped. (Remember to close them when you go to bed to keep your home secure.)
- close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat – consider replacing them or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space.
- turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment as they generate heat.
- Go indoors or outdoors during hot periods, whichever feels cooler. If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
- Ensure that babies, children or older people are not left alone in stationary cars.
- If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping. Electric fans may provide some relief, if temperatures are below 35°C.
Look out for others
Keep an eye on elderly neighbours, friends and relatives as well as young children. Make sure they are able to keep cool by:
- ensuring that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary vehicles.
- checking on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heatwave.
- being alert and calling a doctor if someone is unwell or further help is needed.
- making sure pets have access to plenty of fresh drinking water.
Keeping babies safe
The Lullaby Trust has some top tips on their website about how to keep babies safe in hot weather. The NHS website also has information on keeping your baby safe in the sun.
- Stopping for regular breaks when travelling.
- Following a safe sleep routine while on holiday.
- Keeping the room your baby sleeps in between 16 and 20°C.
- Use parasols on prams and buggies.
- Make sure baby has enough fluids.
Look out for the signs of heat-related harm
- If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, avoid excess alcohol.
- If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, for example after sustained exercise during very hot weather), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks. Most people should start to recover within 30 mins and if not, they should seek medical help. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist
- Call 999 if a person develops any signs of heatstroke as this is a medical emergency.
Further information on preventing heat related illness is available on the NHS choices website.