Cornwall is a lovely place to be at any time of year, but especially during the summer. Many of us enjoy getting outside in the warmer weather when the sun is shining, but it’s worth remembering that sunny spells can pose health risks for some people.
Here are our top tips to beat the heat and stay well:
- stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest, and walk in the shade where you can
- apply sunscreen of at least factor 30. Remember to reapply if you have been in water. Find out more on the NHS website
- cover up in loose fitting clothing if you can, or wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- if you're in a breeze it might feel cooling - but remember the UV rays will still burn you, so keep applying sunscreen
- avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
- make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
- take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down
- check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging
- Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke
- Find more ways to Beat the Heat on the UKHSA website
Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Neighbours, friends and loved ones who may be more vulnerable in the hotter weather. This could especially affect older people, those aged over 75 and people with long term health conditions. Make sure they are staying hydrated and following all of the tips for keeping cool.
Young children, the elderly and people with long-term health conditions are all at more of a risk of heatstroke, so please help them to stay safe too.
Keeping your living space cool is especially important for those who need to stay at home while it's hot outside. We've got some tips to try to help you beat the heat indoors:
Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight and keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day. External shutters or shades, if you have them, are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective. Care should be taken with metal blinds and dark curtains, as these can absorb heat.
If possible and safe, open windows at night if it feels cooler outside.
Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat.
During the hottest periods find the coolest part of your home or garden/outside or local green space to sit in. If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool-down, take care and follow local safety advice.
While you might expect the water to be warm, it could still be cold. That could mean you get cold water shock. Low water temperature can numb limbs and render the strongest swimmer helpless in minutes. Two thirds of accidental drowning involve strong swimmers.
Water does not need to be moving very fast to sweep you off your feet. There may be strong currents even in still water.
Drinking alcohol severely affects your hazard perception, co-ordination and resistance to the cold.
Don’t assume because you can swim in a pool that you can deal with the challenges and temperatures of open water swimming.
If you're heading to the beach, choose a beach patrolled by RNLI lifeguards and follow the flag system.
If you're planning a beach Barbecue please be extra careful in the hot temperatures. Ensure you dispose of barbecues safely and take your rubbish home with you.
Plastic bins and hot barbecues don’t mix. If there isn’t a designated barbecue bin available, please make sure your barbecue is cold, then take it home.
Never bury it in the sand. It could cause serious injuries to others.
If you're staying in the garden for a barbecue, check out our Fire Service safety tips
The summer is a great time to get outdoors. Spending time in nature is beneficial for both your physical and mental wellbeing. But whenever you spend time outdoors there is a small risk of catching infections from animals or the environment.
There is a range of guidance available to help you avoid becoming unwell, including:
If you take regular medication, don’t forgot to pack and bring them with you on holiday. And remember to ask for any prescription refills you may need before bank holiday weekends.
But if you are unable to access your GP, you can get an emergency supply of most prescription medicines from your local pharmacy to tide you over. There are some medication exceptions, and you may have to pay for this service, but a pharmacy will be the quickest way if you do need an emergency supply.
You can find your nearest pharmacy by visiting the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS website
Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.