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Baker Homes Blog

Keeping you and your residents cool – NHS advice

Posted by Guest author on 01/07/15 09:42

The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are particularly at risk when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse.

"There is considerable evidence that heatwaves are dangerous and can kill," says Graham Bickler of Public Health England. In August 2003, temperatures hit 38ºC (101ºF) during a nine-day heatwave, the highest recorded in the UK.  "In the 2003 heatwave, there were 2,000 to 3,000 excess deaths [more than usual] in England. Across Europe, there were around 30,000 excess deaths."

Keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks.  If you are a landlord you might want to pass this on to residents:

  • Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it's safe, open them 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 fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or on the Met Office website.
  • 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 if you go outdoors.
  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.

Find out more about what to do during a heatwave alert level twolevel three or level four.

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. Find your local authority on the GOV.UK website.  

How do I know if someone needs help?

If someone feels unwell, get them somewhere cool to rest. Give them plenty of fluids to drink.

Seek medical help if symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or don't go away.  Find out about the symptoms of dehydration.

What you can do to reduce overheating in homes

Baker Homes has written numerous publications on reducing overheating and other issues such as flood risk.  The following are available for free from our publications page:

  • Your Social Housing in a Changing Climate
  • The Business Case: Incorporating adaptation measures in retrofits
  • A Checklist for Retrofits: Measures to incorporate when planning a retrofit

We were also involved in the recent research on overheating by the Zero Carbon Hub. Available here.

Topics: Retrofit, Health, Overheating, Climate change, Wellbeing

'THE REVIEW' details the achievements and progress of the social housing sector on key environmental performance metrics. Download the report below 

Baker Homes, The Review, UK social landlords environmental performance, environmental benchmarking

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