How to stay safe at home in summer

There are few things British people like more than to chat about the weather (there’s research to prove it!). And, for the past few summers, there has been a lot to talk about. We have often had record-breaking temperatures, over several days at a time.

Even if you prefer sun to snow, it can be uncomfortable to be very hot for a long period of time, and it can also affect our health. Hot weather causes us to sweat more than usual, and that increases the risk that we will become dehydrated. This is when our bodies lose more fluid than they’re taking in, and it means they cannot work as normal. That includes not being able to cool us down properly, which can lead to heat stroke – a potentially very serious condition.

Those of us who already have health issues can be at higher risk of dehydration anyway – symptoms include feeling thirsty, lightheaded, peeing less often and having very dark wee when you do go – and also of overheating.

Keeping yourself hydrated

All the above means it’s important to take particular care when the temperature rises. Try to drink lots of fluids: small sips, often, are absolutely fine if that’s easiest for you. If you don’t like the taste of water, you could try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber to make it a bit more interesting.

Diluted squash is a good choice, as are sports drinks – though take care if you’re diabetic.

Avoid caffeine if you can – tea, coffee, and some fizzy drinks – because it actually dehydrates you. The same goes for alcohol.

Remember you can get water from food, too. Salads are great when it’s hot – with fruit or with vegetables like celery, cucumber, lettuce and tomato.

Windows open or closed?

All this will help reduce the risk of you becoming dehydrated. So too will keeping your home as cool as you can.

It’s often best to shut your windows during the day – when it’s hotter outside than in – and only have them open first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The idea is to let cool air in but keep hot air out. Shutting your curtains will also help to block out the sun.

When your windows are open, it’s best to have them open on several sides of your home if possible. That way the air will flow through. Open all your inside doors too.

An electric fan can also help move the air, and putting a bowl of water or ice in front of it makes it feel more cooling. But a fan only makes a difference if the temperature in a room is below 35°C. So, if your indoor thermometer shows 35 or above, turn off that fan. You might also like to think about whether there are any other electrical appliances or lights you can turn off – they often put out heat.

Pick the perfect outfit

Loose clothes made from natural fabrics (cotton, linen) and in light colours are best to wear during the heat. You might find it helps to drench a top in cold water and keep it damp throughout the day. Popping your feet and hands in cold water helps too. So too, of course, does a cold shower or bath.

With so many people heading for the cold tap, and for their electric fan, there is often more demand for water and energy during hot weather. That means utility services can be under more pressure. Another way of preparing for high temperatures, then, might be to sign up for the Priority Services Register (PSR).

You can find out more about the Register at It is completely free and anyone living with long-term health or mobility issues, and anyone who is a pensioner, can join. Being on the register means that your utility companies will always work particularly hard to make sure you have a reliable service – whether the weather brings you sunshine, showers, snow… or all three in one day. This is Britain, after all.

Further reading

Additional support at home

Alongside reablement, staying independent is about having peace of mind that you’re not going to be left cold or in the dark if the heating or electricity fails.

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is an important, free support service which is designed to support those who need a little extra help in the event of interruptions to their gas, water or electricity supply. If you or someone you know has extra communication, access or safety needs, signing up to the PSR will help ensure you or they can access the best possible services at all times, and feel safe and independent at home. 

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