With this week’s temperatures set to soar above 30°c in some parts of the UK, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay cool and safe
We know how uncomfortable it can be if you’re pregnant during a heat wave, with high temperatures putting you at risk of dangers like dehydration and sunstroke.
With this week’s temperatures set to soar above 30°c in some parts of the UK, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay cool, comfortable and safe around the home including taking extra care with food and waste.
1. Drink lots of water
Drinking plenty of water will help ensure you don’t become dehydrated. During warm weather, you will naturally sweat more, so its important that you drink more.
To prevent dehydration, increase your fluid intake until your wee becomes clear or very pale yellow.
Keep a bottle of water with you during the day and drink frequently. At night, keep some water nearby and if you wake up, have a sip even if it means a night-time trip to the toilet. Ensure you drink plenty of water when you exercise in warm weather.
2. Stay in the shade and avoid sunbathing
The warmest part of the day is between 11am and 3pm, so avoid being in the sun then and stay out of the sun altogether if possible.
While pregnant, you may find your skin is more sensitive to the sun during hot weather.
Also, sitting in the sun will increase the risk of dehydration.
If you start feeling faint or ill, find a cool and shady spot to sit or lie down in and drink plenty of water.
Seek medical advice if you continue to feel ill in the heat, or you are worried you might be dehydrated or have heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency.
3. Wear cool clothing
Wear loose, light clothing, and a hat and sunglasses of you go outdoors. Cotton is cooler If you do go out, wear sunscreen. Umbrellas are great for keeping the sun off too.
4. Exercise sensibly
You might need to adjust your exercise plan while pregnant, particularly during a heatwave. If your body temperature rises too high in the early stages of pregnancy, you will be putting you and your baby at risk, so make sure you aren’t over-exerting yourself, particularly in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
On very hot days, it’s best to avoid exercising until you have acclimatised, which will take a few days. Make sure you have a water bottle with you if you are exercising.
5. Rest and put your feet up
If its hot, avoid doing too much. Minimise time spent standing, wear comfortable shoes, put your feet up regularly and do a few foot exercises to reduce swelling and cramp in your calf muscles.
If you are pregnant and experience a sudden swelling of your face, hand or feet, and a severe headache, contact your midwife, GP or NHS 111 straight away, as these could be signs of pre-eclampsia.
6. Lukewarm baths and showers
Cold showers and baths can actually cause your body to retain heat so use lukewarm water.
7. Keep your home cool
Stay inside the coolest rooms in your house as much as possible which are probably those that get the least sun during the day.
Close pale-coloured curtains – closing dark curtains and metal blinds can make rooms hotter.
Keep windows closed when it’s hotter outside than inside, but open them if the room gets too hot.
8. Take extra care with food
When it’s hot, bacteria on food can multiply very quickly, which increases the risk of food poisoning. So, it’s important to make sure food is:
– kept in cooler bags when taking it home from the supermarket or out for a picnic
– put in the fridge as soon as you get home – the temperature of the fridge should be between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius
– kept out of the sun
– only out of the fridge for the shortest time possible – no more than a couple of hours
9. Take care with bins and waste
Bins and waste can attract flies and start to smell in the heat, so make sure you:
– recycle as much as possible to reduce waste
– move bins out of direct sunlight and keep their lids closed at all times to prevent access by flies or rodents
– use bio-degradable bags recommended by your council for food waste and squeeze the air out of the top of the bags before you tie them then place them in your food waste or garden waste bin
– bag nappies before placing in your waste bin
wash and/ or disinfect waste containers regularly, both inside and out but remember to rinse off any cleaning chemicals afterwards to prevent yourself or council workers being splashed by the chemicals
Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
During hot weather, it’s useful to know the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• dizziness and confusion
• loss of appetite and feeling sick
• excessive sweating and pale
• clammy skin
• cramps in arms, legs, and stomach
• fast breathing and pulse
• temperature of 38 degrees or above
• intense thirst.
If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down. Move them into a cool place in the shade or indoors and get them to lie down with their feet up. They should drink water to rehydrate. Cool them with a fan or cool water spray. They should start to feel better or cool down within 30 minutes.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Call 999 if the person:
• is no better after 30 minutes
• feels hot and dry
• is not sweating even though they are too hot
• has a temperature that’s risen to 40°C or above
• is breathing rapidly or has shortness of breath
• is confused
• has a fit (seizure)
• loses consciousness
• is unresponsive.
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