How to cope in a heatwave




The main risks posed by a heatwave are:

  • Dehydration (not drinking enough water)
  • Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Watch out for signs of heat related illness.


If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke.


A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • Older people – especially those over 75
  • Those who live on their own or in a care home
  • People who have a serious or long term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease or some mental health conditions
  • Those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or those with Alzheimer’s disease
  • People who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside.

If you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot house that's affecting your health or someone else's, get medical advice.



  • Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated
  • Stay cool indoors – keep your home cool:
    • close curtains in rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler (it may be cooler outdoors than indoors)
  • Follow coronavirus social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • Never leave anyone in a parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
  • Make sure you take water out with you, especially if you are travelling
  • Take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into open water to cool down

You can also get help from the environmental health office at your local authority. They can inspect a home for hazards to health, including excess heat: Find your local authority

Remember that while coronavirus restrictions are in place, you will need to follow government guidance to use public spaces safely. For more information visit GOV.UK: Heatwave Plan for England