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How to stay cool when working in a heatwave

August 24, 2022

With temperatures in the UK reaching unprecedented levels in recent weeks and these new temperatures expected to become the norm for British summer time due to Global Warming, it’s no wonder people are looking for tips and tricks to stay cool.  

Hot weather can result in some uncomfortable and embarrassing side effects such as flushing and sweating, however there are more serious consequences of hot weather if you don’t look after yourself properly. These can be more serious and include dehydration, sunburn and even heat stroke. 

Symptoms of heatstroke

It is important to look out for signs and symptoms of heatstroke both for your own safety but also for the safety of your colleagues. Symptoms of heatstroke can include:

  1. Lack of urination 
  2. Fatigue
  3. Dizziness
  4. Nausea
  5. Increased heart rate
  6. Shallow breathing 

More serious signs of heatstroke can result in: 

  1. Confusion 
  2. Seizures
  3. Loss of consciousness

Heatstroke can be fatal if not treated appropriately. If you believe someone is suffering from heatstroke then seek medical attention immediately. Whilst you wait, move them to a cooler or shaded area. Encourage them to drink plenty of water (only if they are conscious) and apply cool compresses to the pulses such as the back of their neck and inner wrists.

How to stay cool at work 

Cool clothing

When it is warm outside it is good to wear clothing that is going to keep you cooler and comfortable. This includes light weight and loose fitting clothes that are lighter colours to help prevent the absorption of heat.  

Keep windows and curtains closed 

This might seem counterproductive but if you do this early in the morning before the temperature begins to rise then you will trap the cold air within the building and prevent warmer air circulating in. 

Drink plenty of water

It goes without saying a key factor to staying safe within hot weather is keeping hydrated. On an average day you should be drinking between 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day and in hot weather this rises to up to 3 litres. Remember to sip throughout the day rather than guzzle large amounts and this can cause problems of its own like overhydration. 

Pulse points 

One of the quickest ways to cool yourself down is to use cold water or a cold compress on places of your pulse. This can include the back of your neck or the insides of your wrists. If you feel like you are overheating, a quick trip to the bathroom to run your wrists under cold water can help to reduce your temperature much faster than other methods.


It is important to stay safe at work during hot weather, if you find that you really struggle then it may be best to speak to you employer about working hours or remote working so you can be more comfortable.

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