WHO: Information for the General Public during Heatwaves

The following information is sourced from the document mentioned in the previous post.

Note: Throughout a heatwave, follow the recommendations of your local health authorities

Keep your home cool

  • Ideally, room temperature should be kept below 32 C during the day and 24 C during the night.
  • Use the night air to cool your home. If safe to do so, open all windows and shutters during the night and early morning.
  • Reduce heat load inside the house/ apartment-
  • Close sun-facing windows/ shutters
  • turn off artificial lighting and as many electrical appliances as possible
  • hang shades/ draperies/awnings/louvers on windows that receive morning or afternoon sunlight
  • although electric fans may provide relief, they may not prevent heat related illness when the temperature is above 35 C- drink fluids to prevent dehydration

Keep Out of the Heat

  • Move to the coolest room in the house- especially at night
  • If it is not possible to keep your home cool, spend 2-3 hours in a cool place (like an air-conditioned public building)
  • Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity. If you must, do such activity between 4 am and 7 am- the coolest part of the day
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Do not leave children or animals (unattended) inside parked vehicles

Keep the Body Cool and Hydrated

  • Take cool showers or baths. Alternatively, you could use cold packs, wraps, towels, foot baths, sponging, etc.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothes of natural materials. Use a wide brimmed hat/ cap and sunglasses if you go outside.
  • Use light bed linen and sheet and no cushions, to avoid heat accumulation
  • Drink fluids regularly. Avoid alcohol, and too much sugar and caffeine
  • Eat frequent small meals. Avoid foods that are high in protein

Help Others

  • Check on family, friends and neighbours who spend much of their time alone
  • Elderly or sick people living alone should be visited at least once a day
  • Get training. Take a first aid course to learn how to treat heat emergencies and other emergencies. Everyone should know how to respond.

If you or others feel unwell

  • Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache. Move to a cool place as soon as possible and have your temperature measured.
  • Drink some water/ fruit juice to rehydrate
  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen), and drink Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS). Seek medical attention if heat cramps last more than one hour.
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or your symptoms persist.


If one of your family members or people you assist presents hot dry skin and delirium, convulsions and/or unconsciousness, call a doctor/ambulance immediately.

While waiting for help, move the person to a cool place, put him or her in a horizontal position and elevate legs and hips, remove clothing and initiate external cooling, for example, by placing cold packs on the neck, axillae and groin, fanning continuously and spraying the skin with water at 25–30 °C.

Measure the body temperature.

Do not give acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol.

Position an unconscious person on his or her side.

Useful Link:

Link to the guideline document:


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