Staying well in hot weather

Blue-eyed baby wearing a blue sun-hat and drinking from a plastic beaker

Throughout the summer the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Met Office issue warnings about hot weather which may affect our health.

HEAT-HEALTH ALERT LATEST – Yellow Heat-Health alert has been issued for the South East. Alert is in effect from 8am on Monday 24  June 2024 to 5pm on Thursday 27 June

Many of us enjoy the summer sun.

But hot weather – when it does arrive – can cause health issues for anyone, particularly for vulnerable people such as the elderly, very young and people with medical conditions.

So when temperatures climb, take commonsense steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and well; and look out for friends and neighbours in need of support.

If you can, make sure they have enough food, water and any medication they regularly have to take and aren’t left to sit in direct sun.

Other top tips for staying safe and well in hot weather include:

  • keeping up to date with the forecast so you can be prepared
  • drinking plenty of fluid, and avoiding excess alcohol, to stay hydrated
  • doing intense outdoor exercise in the cooler parts of the day, when UV rays are weakest
  • regularly using sunscreen above SPF30 and wearing 100% UV protection sunglasses to protect yourself from strong sun.
  • carrying your asthma inhaler, if you use one, with you because hot weather and thunderstorms can make lung conditions worse. If you notice you need to use your inhaler more frequently because of the weather, please talk to your pharmacist, contact your GP or NHS 111.

There's also lots of things you can do to keep cool at home, including:

  • closing curtains on rooms that face the sun
  • keeping windows in direct sun shut during the day and opening them at night when the air is cooler outside
  • turning off any electrical equipment and lights you aren’t using so they don’t kick out unnecessary heat

...checking in on the very elderly, young and those living with conditions can play a big part in keeping our communities safe

Dr Anjan Ghosh Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health

Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: "Lots of us enjoy sunny weather; but hot temperatures can cause a wide range of health issues, from minor to life-threatening, particularly for vulnerable individuals.

"Following basic advice and checking in on the very elderly, young and those living with conditions can play a big part in keeping our communities safe.

"Keeping well also reduces pressure on our hardworking NHS and emergency services.”

If you become unwell in hot weather:

  • unless it is an emergency, use 111 as your first point of contact for medical support. By phoning 111 or visiting 111 Online, you will be directed to the right service for you
  • in an emergency, always call 999
  • visit Kent and Medway Integrated Care System’s stopthinkchoose website for details of local services, such as pharmacies and urgent treatment centres
Headshot of Dr Ash Peshen

By taking simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and finding shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill and needing the services of the NHS

Dr Ash Peshen Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Kent and Medway

Dr Ash Peshen, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Kent and Medway, said: “However much we might like the sun, we know that it can have detrimental effects on our health, especially for the young, our elderly residents and those who are most vulnerable.

“By taking simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and finding shade during the hottest parts of the day, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill and needing the services of the NHS.

“Please also do check in on your vulnerable neighbours, families and friends to make sure they are aware of the forecast and following the necessary advice.”