Keeping cool in heat waves

How to combat the heat and protect health in workplaces and at home.

Temperatures are rising in Oxfordshire and the UK. Since 2007, we've experienced four heatwaves. These heatwaves can pose health problems for some residents.

At home

Temperatures above 25°C increase health risks for:

  • babies and young children
  • older people
  • homeless residents
  • outdoor/manual workers
  • residents in flats
  • those with long-term health conditions

In the workplace

For those in care homes or educative settings. It's crucial to maintain a cool environment during hot weather.

Use our fact sheets to keep staff and those in your care safe and comfortable.

Tips to beat the heat

By staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, you can reduce the risk of heating up. If your skin is
hot, then your body will be too. But there are so many other things you can do.

  • Stay hydrated – water and diluted squash or lower-fat milk are good choices. High-sugar drinks can
    dehydrate the body further.
  • Eat later in the evening - when things have cooled off a bit. Consider eating cold food during the day, like ice lollies, which will keep your water levels topped up.
  • Keep your child drinking—little and often. Water and diluted squash or lower-fat milks are good choices. High-sugar drinks can dehydrate the body further. Ice lollies can help keep water levels topped up.
  • If a child is very hot, sponge or spray them with cool water or use cold packs around the neck and armpits. Wrapping them in a cool, wet sheet with a fan on them can help cool them safely.
  • If you are on medication. Most medicines should be kept below 25°C, so they should be stored somewhere cool, dry, out of direct sunlight and away from windowsills. They should only be
    stored in the fridge if specified.

Keeping cool

  • Open doors and windows in the early mornings and overnight when it’s cooler. Then close any that get direct sunlight and shut the curtains or blinds as it heats up. This helps trap the cooler air in your home.
  • If you have windows on different sides of your home, open them on the coolest side.
  • Reorganise so you can spend time in a cooler part of your home, especially if you cannot move around easily.
  • Turn your boiler down. It will mean cooler water for your shower, but it will cool you down and heat your room less.
  • Use air fans if the temperature is below 35 degrees. Higher than that you will just be moving hot air around. Don’t aim it at your body to avoid dehydration.
  • Turn off lights and check electrical equipment – broken or old appliances all add to the heat levels.

What we're doing about climate change

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire's Health Director, urges action against climate change for health. His report calls it a major global and local threat.

GOV.UK has also published their guidance to beat the heat: staying safe in hot weather