Men told ‘Don’t wear suits to work’ – what are your rights as heatwave hits Britain?

19 Jun

 How to cope in hot weather

Why is a heatwave a problem?

The main risks posed by 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 most at risk?

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

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports

Tips for coping in hot weather

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside.
  • 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.
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn’t possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
  • 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.
  • Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool. 
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as 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.

If you’re worried about yourself or a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative, you can contact the local environmental health office at your local authority. Environmental health workers can visit a home to inspect it for hazards to health, including excess heat. Visit GOV.UK to find your local authority.

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