Beat the heat

Beat the heat

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long there are health risks. If a heatwave hits this summer, make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know. The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse.

Public Health England has provided advice on how to stay well. Knowing how to keep cool during long periods of hot weather can help save lives.

Tips for coping in hot weather

The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it's safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or on the Met Office website.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

The Beat the Heat checklist helps you to identify if a home may be at risk of overheating and if occupants living there may be at risk of ill health. The more factors that are present, the greater the risk is likely to be. It also provides details about how to reduce overheating and where to get help.

For more information about how to Beat the Heat see the Heatwave Plans for England here.

Look after your skin - and the NHS

Your GP won’t usually prescribe medicines for minor health concerns you can buy quite easily over-the-counter for minor health concerns like sunburn.

You can always get the advice and medicines you need from your local pharmacy without an appointment, saving you time and helping to free up GP appointments for those who need them. 

To find out more, visit

Look after your skin and the NHS