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When we get to the summer, most of us look forward to the hot weather. However, for some people, in particular, the very young, the elderly and those who have chronic or severe illness, the health risks can be increased. Prolonged hot weather can exacerbate heart and breathing problems, cause dehydration, increase the risks of fainting or falling and worsen the symptoms of asthma.

Those exposed to the sun for long periods e.g. outdoor workers, homeless and people living in top floor flats are also at greater risk of feeling the effects of heat.

While it is ok to enjoy the hot weather here are a few tips to keep you cool and well:

• Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
• If you go out, cover your head with a hat or scarf, use sun screen.
• Avoid extreme physical exertion, remember to drink lots of water when active.
• Limit alcohol as it increases dehydration.
• Wear light loose clothing, choose light coloured clothes.
• Open the windows in the evening, when it is cool.
• Make sure babies do not overheat, keep them in light clothing, avoid wrapping them in heavy blankets.
• If you have an elderly neighbour check they are ok.
• Do not leave pets in cars or conservatories, make sure they have access to water, avoid walking them 11am -3pm.

Plan ahead and follow these Heatwave tips on staying cool during the hot days ahead and advice on what to do if someone feels unwell.

For members of the Muslim community who may be fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, it’s important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water. During hot weather, dehydration is a common and serious risk.

NHS Choices provides a lot of helpful advice and further information on how to be prepared during a heatwave.