Why do I swell up in the heat? 5 ways to reduce heat oedema this summer

Put your feet up

Swollen legs, ankles and feet? The NHS recommends raising your legs or the swollen area up high when you can, preferably on a chair or pillows. (Getty Images)

Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of water in the summer heat, and avoid drinks containing caffeine, to reduce swelling. A good way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is if you’re passing clear urine. If you’re suffering from dehydration, the NHS advises taking oral rehydration sachets, which your pharmacist can help with. (Getty Images)

Get moving

A gentle workout, or even a short walk, can help boost circulation and reduce the fluid build-up in your body’s tissues. Just remember that if you're exercising in the summer, the coolest times of the day are safest, and don't skimp on water. (Getty Images)

Try lymphatic drainage

Self-massage is a welcome treat for tired limbs in summer. Plus, massage stimulates the flow of blood and lymph vessels, which enhances circulation. Try using gentle, sweeping motions to massage. (Getty Images)

Change shoes

Wear wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole, ideally that allows your foot to breathe in hot weather. (Getty Images)

Add feet to your skin care regime

Wash, dry and moisturise your feet to avoid infections. (Getty Images)

When we experience hot weather in the UK, we're not usually that prepared for the effect it can have on our bodies, such as heat oedema.

This is when you might experience swelling or puffiness in the ankles, feet and legs, often caused by a build up of fluid in these areas, more generally called oedema.

Read more: UK weather: What happens to your body when it gets too hot?

But when temperature rises, blood vessels near the surface of your skin automatically widen as a way of keeping your body cool. This increased blood flow can cause clear fluid from your lymph system (part of the immune system, and complementary to the circulatory system) to leak into the surrounding tissues, causing the swelling.

Some people naturally have more leaky capillaries (delicate blood vessels) than others, and most people will find this leakiness tends to increase with age.

Read more: Hot weather: Why you shouldn't sleep naked

While it's perfectly normal to have some swelling in the heat, especially in your lower limbs, a large amount of fluid build-up or swelling for no reason could be a sign of an underlying health condition, or the heat could be making something pre-existing worse. It's always wise to check this with your doctor.

Normal swelling should go away on its own, but there are some things you can do to try to help ease the discomfort in your sandals.