How to keep cool in extremely hot weather

Our useful booklet provides information to help you plan ahead and prepare for a safe and healthy summer.

Stay out of the heat

  • keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • if you must go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat and light scarf
  • avoid extreme physical exertion
  • wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes

Cool yourself down

  • have plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine, and hot drinks
  • eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high-water content
  • take a cool shower, bath, or body wash
  • sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck

Keep your environment cool

  • keeping your living space cool is especially important for infants, the elderly, or those with chronic health conditions or who can't look after themselves
  • place a thermometer in your main living room and bedroom to keep a check on the temperature
  • keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun. However, care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat
    • consider replacing or putting reflective material in-between them and the window space
  • turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
  • keep indoor plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • if possible: move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
    Electric fans may provide some relief if temperatures are below 35°C.
    • please note: COVID-19 is circulating in the district. We strongly recommend using fresh air rather than fans to ventilate rooms where possible


  • consider putting up external shading outside windows
  • use pale, reflective external paints
  • have your loft and cavity walls insulated – this keeps the heat in when it is cold and out when it is hot
  • grow trees and leafy plants near windows to act as natural air-conditioners

If you or others feel unwell

  • try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious, or have intense thirst and headache
    • move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
  • drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
  • rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather), and drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes
  • medical attention is needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
  • consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist

Look out for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Look out for others

  • keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they can keep cool
  • ensure that babies, children, or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars
  • check on elderly or sick neighbours, family, or friends every day during a heatwave
  • be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed

If you have a health problem

  • keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications

PPE and heat: Risk of heat stress

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in warm/hot environments increases the risk of heat stress. The Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive has provided guidance to help staff keep cool and stay hydrated during the hot weather.

Contact Us

Public Health Wakefield Council Wakefield One PO Box 700 Wakefield WF1 2EB

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