When we think of the warm summer months, most of us envision laying on beaches, ice-cold drinks, and warm evenings watching the sunset. However, hot weather can do more than give you a tan. The most common risks associated with heatwaves are:
• Not drinking enough water, otherwise known as dehydration
• Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
During a heatwave, high temperatures and health risks affect everyone. However, according to the NHS, some demographics are more vulnerable to the hazards of heatwaves. The most vulnerable people in a heatwave are:
If a heatwave is likely to occur, the Meteorological Office will issue an alert via their warning system. The Meteorological Office can issue four different levels of alerts, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4. Level 1 being the minimum alert and Level 4 being the most serious, maximum alert. Each of the alerts carries a unique set of warnings and requires varying levels of preparation. Understanding the alter system and knowing what to do for each level of alert is the first step to protecting yourself and your family from the risks associated with heatwaves.
Level 1 alert
In the event of a Level 1 alert, you do not need to take any special precautions as this is the lowest level alert. However, it is good to be aware that the alert has been raised so that you can be prepared for when the alert level is increased.
Level 2 alert
When the alert level is raised to Level 2, this means that it is likely that the average temperature will rise to 30° Celsius during the day, and 15° Celsius during the night and that these temperatures will last over the next two to three days.
These temperatures can pose serious health risks, mainly if two 30° Celsius days occur, with one 15° Celsius night separating them. That being said, to be safe, you do not need to take immediate action following a Level 2 alert. However, you should take a few steps to prepare yourself for the upcoming blast of heat. Most importantly, you need to stay informed - if you are travelling, stay up to date on the weather forecast of your destination. Also, regularly check the Met Office’s weather and temperature updates, with on social media, through the Met Office’s website, on the TV, or radio.
Level 3 alert
The Met Office will give a Level 3 alert when heatwave temperatures are expected in at least one region in the UK. When a Level 3 alert is triggered, it is essential to stay informed on the weather updates and to take steps to keep cool. Refer to the list of tips below to learn about how to stay healthy in the heat.
Level 4 alert
A Level 4 alert is the highest level of warning for hot weather in the UK. This warning is given in severe or prolonged heatwaves; for example, when the heatwave has become an emergency, this warning will be announced. When the weather becomes this hot, it can affect everyone, not just those who are more at risk because of their age or pre-existing health conditions. When a Level 4 alert is put out, it is crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your family from the heat and, if possible, check-in on more vulnerable community members.
• Stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids during the heat to avoid dehydration and stay comfortable. Alcohol is dehydrating, so avoid alcohol to stay as hydrated as possible, and drink more water and lower-fat teas and coffees during the day.
• Sunscreen and shade – applying good quality sunscreen and wearing hats or lightweight scarves are instrumental in protecting you from the sun’s rays. Also, when possible, stick to the shade.
• Check-in on vulnerable community members – those who are more susceptible to the effects of intense heat might need extra help staying safe and comfortable during a heatwave. Checking in on them and ensuring that they are protected will help to keep everyone safe during the heatwave.
• Avoid the sun – when possible, avoid going out in the sun during the hottest hours, between 11:00am and 3:00pm. When you do go outside, wear light clothing and always apply sunscreen.
• Take a refreshing shower – take cool baths and showers to refresh yourself. If a shower isn’t possible, spritz or splash yourself with cold water.
During a heatwave, your home’s temperature will rise as well and ideally it is best to avoid going outside during the afternoon when the temperature peaks. It is essential to keep your home as cool as possible; the tips below will help you to turn your home into a haven from the sun’s rays:
• Close your windows – during the day, close windows that are facing the sun. Then at night, when temperatures have cooled, open windows to allow for cool air to permeate the home.
• Choose where you sleep – if one of the rooms in your home is cooler, consider moving into that room for part of the day, or to sleep.
• Draw the curtains – you can keep rooms cooler by simply used curtains and keeping them closed. Make sure to use light-coloured curtains as darkly coloured curtained or metallic shades will actually add to the heat in your home. If possible, you should opt for using shades or reflective material outside your windows. This will keep even more heat out of your home effectively.
When preparing yourself and your home for a heatwave, you can also refer to Public Health England’s guide to heat-proofing your home, beat the heat: keep cool at home checklist. Using this checklist will help you to identify whether or not the occupants of your home are at risk for overheating. The second part of the list provides information on how to improve conditions in your home and provides resources to use in the event of a heatwave.
If you want to ensure that your home maintains a safe and comfortable temperature, the most convenient and effective tool is high-quality home ventilation. Once installed, a home ventilation system does the work for you and purifies fresh air before circulating it through your home. If you do not want to worry about continually moving to the coolest room or opening and closing windows, a home ventilation system will help keep your home cool and comfortable.
EnviroVent’s Heat Recovery Ventilation systems perform well in both the summer and the winter. For example, ventilation systems such as the energiSava © 200 extract excess moisture from the air and efficiently cool your home using the Summer By-Pass system. This system ensures that the temperature in your home is controlled and that the air is routed in such a way that the cooler outdoor air replaces the hot, stuffy air inside. This flow of cool, clean air means that you can keep your windows closed throughout the night and day and still enjoy the benefits of cooler, fresh air.
To learn more about how EnviroVent can help you keep your home cool in this summer’s heatwaves, contact one of our experienced agents today.
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