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How to cope in hot weather

Most of us welcome the sunshine, but if you have a health condition or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it’s important to make sure you stay safe in this hot weather.


Spending time in the hot weather


Why is hot weather a problem?

The main risks in a heatwave are: 

  • Dehydration (not having enough water)
  • Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • Heat exhaustion and heatstroke


Who is at risk?

A heatwave can affect anyone, but some of the most vulnerable people are:

  • Older people, especially those over 75
  • People with serious chronic conditions, especially heart or breathing problems
  • People with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke
  • People on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • People with serious mental health problems
  • Babies and young children
  • People who are physically very active 
  • People who misuse alcohol or drugs

Ice cream melting in the sun


Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Shut the windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. You can keep the room cool by using reflective material outside the windows or by using light-coloured curtains (remember, dark curtains could make the room hotter). You can open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
  • Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
  • Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies (food, water and any medications you need).
  • Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

Sip a cool drink regularly throughout the day


This information is based on the guidance published on For more information about what to do in a heatwave, please visit the NHS website


If you’re currently accessing Hospiscare services and are worried about how to cope with the hot weather, please ask your Hospiscare nurse for more advice.