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How to stay safe in a heatwave on holiday


This year’s summer heatwave has seen some record-breaking temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, in places such as California, Glasgow, and Tbilisi.

Extreme heat can be dangerous to your health, and it’s important to protect yourself from sunburn and heat exhaustion both at home and on holiday.

Here are some simple things that you can do to keep yourself and your family safe in the sun:

Find shade

Try to stay in the shade as much as you can during the hottest part of the day – this is generally between 11am and 3pm. Find a cooler space, either inside or outside, to relax during that time.

Use sunscreen

Use a good quality sunscreen to defend your skin from harmful rays. Choose a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF15 for UVB protection, and with at least four-star UVA protection.

It’s also a good idea to check that the product isn’t out of date as sunscreen usually goes out of date in a year.

You can learn more in this NHS guide to sun and sunscreen safety.

Cool off by going swimming

It’s refreshing to cool off in the pool or the sea, but be sure to reapply sunscreen once you’re out of the water and have dried off.

Even if your sunscreen is labelled as water resistant you still need to do this.


If you’re going to be outside in the sun, choose light clothes which cover your skin to protect it from burning.

Long sleeved cotton shirts, long skirts, trousers and wide-brimmed hats work well to keep you cool.


Your eyes can be damaged by UV light from the sun, so it’s important to wear sunglasses with a high UV protection – they should have a CE, UV 400 or British Standard Mark to show this.

Find out more in this guide to buying sunglasses by the Eyecare Trust charity.


Drink plenty of water in order to keep hydrated – try adding a slice of lemon or lime if you don’t like the taste of pure water.

When you’re out and about, carry drinking water with you in a reusable bottle. Bear in mind that alcoholic drinks are dehydrating – even if they come with ice!


When the temperature’s high avoid strenuous exercise as this raises your core temperature and can put extra stress on your body.


Take extra care to protect babies and children from the sun, as their skin is much more sensitive than that of adults.

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