Recommendations during a heat wave

General recommendations before a heat wave

It is generally possible to forecast the occurrence of a heatwave, so when temperatures are rising or there is high humidity, attention should be paid to the weather forecasts and information in the media. Find out from your local pharmacy or doctor what is recommended for dealing with the adverse effects of heat.

In addition, the following precautionary measures should be followed:

  • Have sufficient water available;
  • Be prepared to offer first aid (e.g. organise a first-aid kit);
  • Inform yourself about the possible adverse effects of heat stress;
  • Be aware of important precautionary measures: e.g. appropriate clothing, head covering, stay in the shade, stay hydrated;
  • Check relevant equipment on buildings (e.g. canopies, reflective external blinds etc.);
  • Heed push notifications on the MeteoSchweiz App.

General recommendations during a heat wave

Heat can have an adverse effect on a person’s health, and can sometimes impair both mental and physical performance.

How well somebody copes with heat depends partly on their physical condition at the time. Someone with a cold or a chronic illness, for example, will have a significantly lower tolerance to heat. Generally speaking, pregnant women, small children, the elderly and those who are ill are more sensitive to high temperatures. Typical heat-related conditions can manifest in symptoms such as dizziness, headache, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting etc.

General advice in the event of a heatwave:

  • Solar radiation is at its strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with the hottest time in the late afternoon (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.), so restrict activities in the open air to morning and evening, and where possible remain in the shade.
  • Avoid vigorous physical activity wherever possible. If you are doing any physical activity, hydrate sufficiently (with cool, alcohol-free drinks).
  • Protect yourself from direct sun (with shade, appropriate clothing, head covering, sunglasses, sunscreen etc.
  • Wear loose, light-coloured clothing.
  • Ensure that your body gets sufficient liquid (at least 1.5 to 2 litres a day), and compensate for salt and water loss simultaneously. Water containing sodium, juices, soups, fruits with a high water content, such as melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and peaches, are all useful for hydration.
  • Eat fresh, cool and light meals, and spread these out over the course of the day.
  • Compensate for salt loss during or after sporting activities.
  • Make the most of the lower night-time temperatures: allow plenty of outside air to circulate through buildings.
  • Cool down with a cool shower or bath.
  • When high temperatures (and dryness) persist for a long time, there is often a danger of forest fires.
  • Keep up to date with the latest weather reports via the media.
  • Heed the push notifications from the MeteoSwiss App.
  • Always follow official recommendations.

General recommendations after a heat wave

A heatwave can leave damage in its wake and has a visible detrimental effect on the landscape (dried-up ground, cracks in the earth, damage to crops etc.). Moreover, severe heatwaves can also cause fatalities, as was the case in 2003.

After a heatwave, you should take extra care of yourself and not try to undertake vigorous sporting activities. The body needs a period of time to readjust.

Find out from your local pharmacist or doctor what precautionary measures can be taken to be well prepared in the event of a future heatwave.

After a heatwave, the potential for forest fires still exists.

Further information