On this page you will find information and advice on staying well during summer and winter.
How to cope in hot weather
Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long, there are health risks. If hot weather hits this summer, make sure it does not harm you or anyone you know.
The main risks posed by hot weather or a heatwave are:
- 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 and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately - keep your distance in line with social distancing guidelines
- 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 - wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to 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
Looking for more information and tips on how to cope during a heatwave? Click here.
Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn does not just happen on holiday. You can burn in the UK, even when it's cloudy. There's no safe or healthy way to get a tan. A tan does not protect your skin from the sun's harmful effects.
Aim to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight.
Sun safety tips
Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October.
Make sure you:
- spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- make sure you never burn
- cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
- take extra care with children
- use at least factor 30 sunscreen
Looking for more information and tips on sun safety? Click here.
Public Health England, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England have produced the following guidance:
Advice for health and social care staff
This heatwave plan includes advice for health and social care staff on how to support vulnerable people during warm weather.
Advice for care home managers
This heatwave plan includes advice for care home managers and staff on how to support vulnerable people during warm weather.
Beat the Heat checklist
Download this checklist on how to keep residents safe and well during a heatwave.
How to stay well in winter
Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.
Where to get help and advice from:
If you are 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups above, it's important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.
- Consider taking a vitamin D supplement - our bodies create vitamin D from sunlight and we need it for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. During the winter months the sun isn’t strong enough for our bodies to make vitamin D, and it’s difficult to get the amount we need from our diet. You might want to speak to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement for a little boost over winter.
- Keep moving - not only is staying active essential for your general wellbeing and fitness, it also generates heat and helps to keep you warm. When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises while sitting or holding on to the back of a chair. Even moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes can help you keep warm and well.
- Think about hand hygiene - good hand hygiene is a simple and easy way to help prevent spreading and catching colds and flu. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and use tissues to cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze. It’s also a good idea to keep regularly used surfaces, such as the phone, door handles and counter tops clean.
Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It's important to get the flu vaccine if you're advised to.
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It's offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.
Find out more about the:
Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:
- if you're not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C
- keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep bedroom window closed
- if you're under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, as long as you're comfortable
- use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time
- have at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm
- have hot drinks regularly
- to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
- draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
- get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
If you are looking for help with heating costs and housing benefits visit the GOV.UK website.
Check on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or breathing (respiratory) problems, to make sure they:
- are safe and well
- are warm enough, especially at night
- have stocks of food and medicines so they do not need to go out during very cold weather