With temperatures rising, it's important to remember that hot weather can pose a health risk. Many of those most at risk from the heat are also at greater risk of severe illness due to coronavirus and may need to spend more time at home than they would usually.
Therefore, it's especially important that you know how to keep yourself and others safe from high temperatures. There are some simple precautions you can take to ensure you enjoy a safe and healthy summer.
Stay cool at home
Many of us will need to spend more time at home this summer to reduce the spread of coronavirus. To help keep yourself cool, shade or cover windows during the day and open them at night once temperatures have dropped. Turn off the heating, lights and electrical equipment when not in use. Only use electric fans if no one in the house is unwell with coronavirus symptoms.
Hot weather can increase the symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration, especially for the elderly, babies and children, and people with health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure - so it's very important to stay hydrated and avoid excess alcohol.
Keeping hydrated is especially important for people who are unwell with coronavirus symptoms or recovering from illness.
Protect your skin
To protect your skin from sun damage it is vital to regularly apply sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. You should also spend time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest – usually between 11am and 3pm in the UK. Extra care should be taken to protect babies and children.
For more advice on sunscreen and sun safety click here
Look out for others
Make sure to check up on family, friends and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves, especially if they are self-isolating. Remember to follow the latest coronavirus government guidance whilst looking after others.
If you or someone you know becomes unwell, e.g. with heat exhaustion or heatstroke, visit NHS 111 online or call 111 if you cannot get online.
For more summer health tips visit the NHS website.
How to keep your baby safe during hot weather
Babies and young children can become ill during very hot weather. Their health can be seriously affected by dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and sunburn. For more information click here
Click here to watch an animated video from The Lullaby Trust, which gives you advice on how to care for your baby in warm weather.
Here are some tips to help you keep your child happy and healthy in the heat.
Keep your baby cool and protect them from the sun.
- Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Older babies should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer and between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
- Apply a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, protection against UVA and UVB rays to your baby's skin.
- Make sure your child wears a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back.
From 0 to 6 months
- Fully breastfed babies may breastfeed more than usual during the hot weather.
- If you're bottle-feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby a little cooled boiled water.
- Remember you can ask your health visitor or another health professional for advice about any baby care issue.
From around 6 months
- Once you have started to introduce solid foods, you should offer your baby sips of water from a cup or beaker with meals. Remember that breastmilk or infant formula should be their main drinks during the first year.
From 12 months
- Water, breast milk, or whole cows' milk should be your baby's main drinks. In hot weather, you can try giving them frozen lollies made from plain water or from very diluted fruit juice to help keep them hydrated.
- For older children, give them plenty of fruit and salad to help keep their fluid levels up. Read more about drinks and cups for babies and young children.
- Playing in a paddling pool in the shade is a good way of keeping babies and children cool.
- Run them a cool bath before bedtime.
- Keep your child's bedroom cool during the day by closing blinds or curtains.
- Keep nightwear and bedclothes to a minimum.
- A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby's room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C and 20C.