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How the elderly can stay cool during the hot weather

July 18, 2013


Hospitals have reported a rise in A&E admissions as Britain's 30C heatwave continues. A&E admissions reported range from treating people for severe dehydration, heatstroke and breathing difficulties.

Therefore, the importance of staying cool in this hot weather cannot be stressed enough for older people, especially at night between successive hot days. It is essential that older people take sensible precautions during a heatwave, particularly if they have breathing problems or a heart condition.

It has been advised that the elderly should remain indoors during the worst of the heat, wear light clothing, drink plenty of fluids and eat normally, but to try and east colder foods such as, salads and fruits which are high in water.

Anyone who has an older member of the family or neighbour can help them by calling to check and find out if they are ok, and to ask if they need any help in taking precautions to stay cool and well during this hot weather.

Age UK’s free ‘ Staying Cool in a Heatwave’ guide provides advice on how to protect yourself from the heat. For a free copy call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 6565 or click on here . You may also like to take a look at our Cooling products, such as our fans by clicking here .

1.    Always stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out use Factor 15 sunscreen or above, wear a hat and stay in the shade always if possible.  

2.    When at home and inside, always try to keep your house cool. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Shut windows when it’s cooler inside than outside.

3.    Avoid or limit strenuous activities like housework and gardening – try to do these activities when it’s cooler in the early morning or evening.


4.    When travelling always carry a bottle of water.

5.    Drink lots of fluid even if you aren’t thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine such as tea and coffee and avoid alcohol, as it can make dehydration worse.


6.    Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruits as they are high in water.


7.    Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.

8.    Cool off with cold water. Remember to take nice cool baths or showers. Try splashing your face with cold water, spray your face with water or place a cool damp cloth on the back of your neck.

9.    Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings  on TV, radio and online via or  

10.  If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to visit you or phone you and check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  Age UK’s free ‘ Staying cool in a heatwave ’ guide offers helpful advice on how to protect yourself from the heat, heat-related illnesses and what to do when you show signs of it. For a free copy call Age UK Advice free on: 0800 169 6565 or if you can please visit the Age UK website to download their helpful PDF guide.


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