We may joke about the weather in Scotland, but heat is a real risk that can affect anyone.
Conditions related to heatwaves such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion can have serious consequences if not quickly treated. In addition, being exposed to the sun for too long can cause painful sunburn. Here are the Ready Scotland tips on how to stay safe in hot weather.
What Can I Do?
- Be prepared for the weather, whatever it might be. Check the weather forecast;
- Drink plenty of water. Your Water Your Life has useful information on staying hydrated;
- If you have vulnerable neighbours or relatives who may be at risk during a heatwave, try to visit them daily and ensure they have the support they need.
- Try to keep your house cool - closing blinds or curtains can help;
- At night, keep your sleeping area well ventilated. Night cooling is important as it allows the body to recuperate;
- Stay cool by taking cool showers or baths.
Out and About
- Never leave children or animals in parked cars. Even on cool days, strong sunshine can make car interiors very hot;
- Avoid sun damage to your skin by avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm. If you have to go out, stay in the shade where you can, protect your skin using sunscreen of at least Factor 15 and wear a hat, sunglasses and light-coloured loose-fitting clothes;
- Avoid too much exercise, which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and watch for signs of heat stress - an early one is fatigue;
- Avoid pollution, especially if you suffer from a breathing or heart condition. You may benefit from registering with the free Know and Respond Scotland service. This provides text message alerts when the air quality is poor, accompanied by targeted health advice;
- If you want to go swimming, it’s best to go to a properly supervised site, such as a beach, lido or swimming pool;
- Reservoirs, rivers and lochs might appear inviting for a quick cool down, but there are many hidden dangers with consequences that can be fatal – Scottish Water has more information;
- Avoid open water that appears green, blue-green or greenish brown, or where there are warning notices for blue-green algae posted. Don’t let dogs swim there;
- Follow good hand hygiene precautions and reduce the risk of E. coli from rural visits to prevent infections from food or animals.
- NHS Scotland provide useful advice on recognising and treating heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
- The definition of a heatwave in Scotland is when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with maximum temperatures above 25°C, however impacts from heat can be felt for periods shorter than this. The Met Office provide further details and advice.
- You can find additional advice from Scottish Water about saving water in the garden.