As the UK's heatwave takes hold, we could now be expecting to break an all-time temperature record. The record, initially set in Kent in August 2003, saw the hot summer reach a 38.5C peak. This week, London is expected to bake in up to 38 degrees, with the potential to be even hotter. 

Every year we dream of a scorching summer, but the soaring heat doesn't come without issue. As you purchase your bucket and spades or stock the fridge with burgers for the barbecue, it's important to remember to take caution when braving the heatwave. Here are some tips:

1. Carry The Essentials

We recommend taking an extra bag around with you for essentials, especially if you're using public transport or walking for a prolonged period of time. We suggest water, suncream, sunglasses, a hat, tissues (no one likes a sweaty forehead), a parasol and a handheld fan. They probably wouldn't let you on the bus with a standing fan...

2. Get Shady

It's recommended that you stay in the shade between the hours of 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest, and UV rays at their strongest. Sunbathing is fun and all, but sunburn? Not so much.

 3. Check on others

Young children and elderly people are most susceptible to the heat, and may suffer from heatstroke, heat exhaustion or dehydration. Check in on your loved ones and make sure they’ve got all they need to brave the heatwave., particularly those with underlying health conditions

Here's what to do if you think someone is experiencing heatstroke, heat exhaustion or dehydration

4. Protect your pets

If it’s hot out here, it’s even hotter in cars. NEVER leave pets locked in cars when it’s this hot, even with the window open or only for a minute. Cars can reach above 50 degrees if left unattended for just half an hour in 30 degree heat. 

At home, make sure animals have plenty of water and access to shade. Remember that hot surfaces can damage your pets' paws, too.

5. Take it easy

The heat can leave us feeling extremely sluggish and abnormally tired, so respond exactly as your body is asking you to. Chill. Relax. Slow down. Give the gym a miss, just for a few days. We won't tell.

6. Clothing matters

This one’s a given, but a reminder is always necessary. Make sure you’re wearing the right clothing. T-shirts, shorts and skirts are good, but make sure you're covering areas susceptible to burning such as your neck and arms. It may be best to wear clothing that covers you up, but is light in material.

If you have to wear a suit or other heavy clothing for work, make sure you take a change of outfit for your commute. If you have a strict dress code, it's worth approaching your employer to see if it can be relaxed as the hot weather takes hold. Here's an easy to read guide on requirements from your employer in the heat.

7. Look after your mental health

The heat can often result in decreased emotional well-being. You may feel more tired and irritable from a lack of sleep, or frustration from a lack of productivity and motivation. All of these things can be detrimental to our mental health. The heat can also have an impact on those already experiencing mental health issues and can exacerbate their condition, so it's important to be vigilant of how you and others around you are feeling. 

8. Safe Swimming

If you plan on taking a dip in a local pool, swimming lake or in the sea to cool down, make sure you're aware of and strictly follow any local safety advice. 

9. Extra measures

Pull your curtains and blinds shut to block out the sun and create a shadier, cooler home. If you need to, buy a fan or two (but do keep them dust-free to avoid allergies), and keep your doors open when it's appropriate to do so. As well as drinking plenty of water, avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks as they can make you more dehydrated. And remember: it may be cooler outside in the shade than inside.

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