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Summer safety


There's a huge amount to do in Southwark during the summer for adults and children. But for some, the very hot weather can cause health issues.


  • Try to stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, particularly between 11am and 3pm
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat
  • Do not leave anyone in a parked car
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion
  • Have plenty of cold drinks, but avoid drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over your skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck

We'd also ask that you look out for your neighbours and friends. If you have an older or vulnerable neighbour keep an eye out for them and make sure that they are safe and well.

Many prescription medicines can reduce your tolerance of heat. You should keep taking your medicines, but take extra care to keep cool.

Keeping your living space cool

It's especially important to keep your living space cool if you are or are caring for infants, the elderly, those with chronic health conditions or anyone who can't look after themselves. You can keep your environment cool by:

  • Keeping windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and opening windows at night
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
  • Electric fans can help, especially if the temperature is below 35C.

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).

Danger symptoms to watch out for in hot weather include:

  • feeling faint and dizzy
  • short of breath
  • vomiting
  • increasing confusion
  • intense thirst and headache

Take immediate action if danger symptoms of heatstroke are present. Cool down as quickly as possible, by resting in a cool place, drinking fluids, and sprinkling water on the skin or taking a cool shower. Measure your body temperature.

Do not take aspirin or paracetamol – this can make you worse, but do carry on taking all other prescribed medicines.

Seek further advice from NHS 111 or a doctor if you have health concerns for yourself or someone you know.

Heatstroke can develop very suddenly, and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. Untreated it can kill. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 999 immediately.

You can find further advice, including advice for professionals working with vulnerable people, at  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heatwave-plan-for-england

General summer safety

The NHS Choices website  provides a summary of NHS information on summer safety including BBQs, safety abroad and outdoors.

For additional home safety advice from the London Fire Brigade you can download their Fire Safety Guide.

Water Safety

To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, follow the RSPA, Water Safety Code.

1. Spot the dangers! Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.

The dangers of water include:

  • It is very cold
  • There may be hidden currents
  • It can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
  • It can be deep
  • There may be hidden rubbish, e.g. shopping trolleys, broken glass
  • There are no lifeguards  
  • It is difficult to estimate depth
  • It may be polluted and may make you ill

Special flags and notices may warn you of danger. Know what the signs mean and do what they tell you.

Learn about water safety signs and the flags you should look out for on the beach.

2. Go together! Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. An adult can point out dangers or help is somebody gets into trouble.

3. Learn how to help! You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency. If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody, preferably a Lifeguard if there is one nearby, or go to the nearest telephone, dial 999, ask for the Police at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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