The NHS’s ‘top tips’ for families to stay safe in the heatwave

With temperatures in London and the south-east expected to soar above 30 degrees on Friday, the local NHS has issued a set of guidelines and advice to help you and your family ending up in hospital.

People are being admitted to A&E because of heat-related including severe sunburn, heat exhaustion and sun and heatstroke.

Pollen levels are also expected to be very high, with the potential to trigger allergies, with some people admitted to hospital due to the effects of hay fever. Then there are others who have been stung by wasps, hornets and other insects.

The risk of serious illness is much higher for the elderly, children and young people, and those who already have health conditions, including heart and breathing problems.

Those with less serious conditions are encouraged to get advice from the free NHS 111 phone and online service to check symptoms before presenting at hospital, and then decide on the best course of action.

Dr Vasa Gnanapragasam, lead GP for Merton, said: “I hope everyone has fun in the sun but please remember that it’s important to look after yourself and others in scorching temperatures.

“With millions of people out and about over the next few days, it’s important to take commonsense precautions and follow our NHS top tips like drinking plenty of water, using high-factor sunscreen and taking allergy medicine where it’s needed.

‘Talk before you walk’: Dr Vasa Gnanapragasam recommends calling NHS on 111

“The NHS will be there always for anyone who needs it, but everyone can help by checking in on vulnerable friends and neighbours, while making use of the free, convenient and helpful phone and online NHS services for minor illnesses, to help frontline staff provide care for those in emergency and serious need.

“People should talk before they walk, and join the hundreds of thousands getting fast and free advice on the best course of action for them from the website or 111 phone line.”

Tips for coping in hot weather, available on

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors – many of us will need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool: close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler
  • if going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately, keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines
  • follow coronavirus social distancing guidance and wash your hands regularly
    drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you must go out in the heat
  • avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice

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

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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