Keeping cool this summer

High temperatures could pose significant health risks – particularly for the very young, the elderly and those with long-term health conditions such as Parkinson's.

If you're concerned about your symptoms getting worse in the heat, we've prepared some advice to help.

Tips for coping with the heat

Keep hydrated

Make sure you drink lots of fluids, especially water. Try to avoid caffeine, hot drinks and drinking lots of alcohol.

Stay indoors

If you can, stay indoors between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest. If you do go out, make sure you stay in the shade where possible.

Ensure you have enough medicine

People with Parkinson's may find their symptoms worsen in the heat. Try to make sure you have enough medication and plenty of food and drink at home, so you don't need to go out when the sun is at its hottest.

You are now able to order repeat prescriptions online using services such as the NHS App or the NHS website’s repeat prescription service. Your prescriptions are then sent directly to a pharmacy of your choice. This means you do not have to go out in hot weather to collect a paper prescription from your GP surgery. Read more about ordering prescriptions online.

Many pharmacies offer a home delivery service for prescriptions. You should ask your pharmacist for more information about the services they provide. 

Keep cool

Try to stay cool by wearing loose cotton clothing and by splashing cold water on your face or the back of your neck. Try and find which is the coolest room in the house, so you can stay there during the heat of the day.

Think about when you are active

Being physically active is important if you have Parkinson’s, but if you are exercising outdoors, you should try to avoid any strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. Instead, try doing something early in the morning or evening when it will be cooler. 

Parkinson's medication

Your medication will continue to work in hot weather and will be absorbed as normal. But remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help you swallow your medication.

Store your Parkinson’s drugs somewhere cool and dry, such as a closed cupboard.

Rotigotine skin patch (Neupro)

Make sure that the patch is kept out of direct sunlight. If you're wearing it outside it's recommended to cover the patch with loose clothing and to avoid prolonged exposure to the heat. You must store Neupro below 25 degrees celsius.

Low blood pressure

Some people with Parkinson’s may experience low blood pressure (hypotension). Symptoms of low blood pressure are most likely to happen when there is an increased demand for blood in your body, such as on a summer’s day. 

This is because the blood vessels, particularly those close to the skin, become larger as a way of cooling the blood down. This also reduces your blood pressure.

If you do experience low blood pressure, don’t sit in the sun or a hot environment for too long. Try to avoid a lot of activity when it’s hot and make sure you drink plenty of liquids. If you feel too hot, use a fan or a cold flannel to cool yourself down.

If you feel unwell

If you start to feel unwell, make sure you drink water and try to find somewhere cool to rest. If possible, have a wash to cool down.

Call the non-emergency NHS helpline for advice if you start feeling unwell. 

  • 111 if you live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or the following areas in Wales: Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay (including Bridgend).
  • 0845 4647 (NHS Direct) if you live in other parts of Wales.

If you experience symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, weakness or any cramps start to get worse or don't go away, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. There's no need to panic but you will need to seek medical help immediately.

If you know someone who has Parkinson's

If your friend, relative or neighbour has Parkinson's, it's especially important to check on them regularly during very hot weather. 

Think about arranging to visit, or call or text your loved one regularly. It can give you both peace of mind. There are other ways you can help if you are local - you could offer to do someone’s shopping for example. 

Every day life with Parkinson's

From diet and physical activity to equipment and living aids, there are lots of things you can do to feel in control of daily life.