Keep cool during hot weather

5 Jul 2013 03:15 PM

As the temperatures rise, Wales’ Chief Medical Officer is reminding everyone to keep safe in the sun.

Dr Ruth Hussey says it is important that people drink plenty of cold drinks, wear sunscreen when outside and avoid staying in the sun too long.

Dr Hussey said:

"Don’t forget to drink regularly – water or other cold soft drinks rather than tea and coffee, and stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm, when the sun is strongest.

"It is very important to protect babies and small children. Babies burn faster than children and adults so need to be shaded from the sun. Keep them cool and give them plenty of cool liquids. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that has four or five stars and protects against UVA and UVB.

"Maximise the protection by putting sunscreen on your children about half an hour before they go outside, and re-apply at least every two hours, more often if they are playing in water. Dress children in light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton to keep them cool. A wide-brimmed hat that covers their face, back of the neck and ears will help protect children when they play outside.

"Remember to look out for others. Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people, and make sure they are able to keep cool. I urge older people, especially those with heart or lung diseases to be careful. In hot weather the air quality can deteriorate. Hot, humid weather and poor air quality are all known asthma triggers, so people who have asthma should consider taking any preventative measures suggested by their doctor.

"Think ahead about what you need to do to keep cool; keeping safe during a heatwave means acting quickly. Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS Direct Wales if you are worried about your health, especially if you are taking medication, or have any unusual symptoms.

"People with fair skin, lots of moles or freckles and those with a family history of skin cancer will also need to be very careful when out in the sun."

Tips to stay safe and cool:

Drink regularly

  • Even if you don’t feel thirsty – water or fruit juice are best.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse.
  • Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.

Keep out of the heat

  • Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often as sunscreen can be washed, rubbed or sweated off.
  • For children, choose a sunscreen specially formulated for children and babies’ skin as these products are less likely to contain alcohol or fragrances that might irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions.  

Stay cool

  • Stay inside in the coolest rooms in your home, as much as possible.
  • Close the curtains in rooms that get a lot of sun.
  • Keep windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. Open them when the temperature inside rises, and at night for ventilation. If you are worried about security, at least open windows on the first floor and above.

Seek advice if you have any concerns

  • Contact your doctor promptly about any mole changes or unusual skin growths
  • Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness. If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.

Related Links

Chief Medical Officer