Heatwave: How to keep pets cool? And other questions

The UK could have its hottest day on record this week, with temperatures forecast to hit up to 41C (106F).

A selection of your questions have been answered by:

  • Michelle Roberts – BBC digital health editor
  • Pallab Ghosh – BBC science correspondent
  • Alice Evans – BBC education reporter
  • Emma Bartlett – Employment partner at CM Murray

Is there any merit to wearing a damp cloth around the neck to help keep the body cool? S. Wilson, 60, Nottingham

As well as drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, cooling your skin with water is a good idea if you are struggling with the heat.

When liquid evaporates from surfaces they cool them. You could use a cool wet sponge or flannel or a cool water spray.

Cold packs around the neck and armpits can also help. Do what feels comfortable for you.

Should schools close for the younger students during this extreme heat? Kelly Ng

Schools haven’t been ordered to close. Instead, the government has asked school leaders to take steps to make sure pupils stay safe and comfortable.

  • Giving children lots of water
  • Closing windows and blinds, as long as classrooms stay ventilated
  • Using mechanical fans
  • Watching out for signs of heatstroke and exhaustion

Other steps schools are taking include: relaxing uniform rules, handing out ice lollies and rescheduling sports days.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Pets should have constant access to fresh water

How can we keep our pets cool if we’re at work? Ella, 24, Nottingham

Just like humans, animals can suffer from heatstroke if exposed to hot temperatures for too long. The RSPCA says pets should never be left in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans on a warm day, even if it’s just for a short while.

  • Make sure they have shade
  • Give them constant access to fresh water
  • Put ice cubes in their water bowl
  • Give them damp towels to lie on

My husband works on a golf course and is being made to use holiday because of the heatwave. Is this right? Rachael Mason

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended), an employer has the right to provide notice requiring a worker to take any holiday they have built up on specified dates.

The notice must be at least twice the length of the period of leave that the worker is being required to take. For example, if an employer wants the worker to take five days’ holiday, the employer must give at least 10 calendar days’ notice.

Will these temperatures be higher in built-up towns where the reflection of the sun is magnified off the windows of high-rise buildings? Derek

Large urban areas tend to be warmer because there is relatively little bare earth and vegetation and a high concentration of man-made materials which absorb heat, rather than reflect it.

As London has the largest urban sprawl it tends to have record high temperatures.

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By Jon Doe