The heat is (still!) on

18th July 2015

The Heat Is On!

It’s official: large swathes of the UK are experiencing a heatwave.

The MET office has raised the heatwave warning to "level three" for south-west England, the West Midlands, the South East and London.

Level two warnings are in place for the east of England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber while the North-East and North-West England remain under the minimum level one warning.

This is the UK's first major heatwave since 2006, when temperatures soared above 30C for six consecutive days.

And as this heatwave enters its second week some experts have predicted that the heat could last through August.

Hot weather can pose a real danger to health and Public Health England (PHE) have urged people to stay cool, drink lots of cold fluids keep a careful eye on the vulnerable and elderly.

Some hospitals have already reported an increase in A&E admissions with many people requiring treatment for dehydration, heatstroke and breathing difficulties.

Health experts at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have estimated that between 540 and 760 people in England alone may have already died as a result of the extreme temperatures.

Heatwave plan leader for PHE Dr Angie Bone told The Guardian: "In this continued hot weather, it's important to remember that high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

"During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson's disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport.

"For those working or exercising outdoors, strenuous physical exertion during the hottest part of the day should be kept to a minimum."

Jonathan McShane, from the Local Government Association, told the BBC: "Social workers, care workers, people who deliver 'meals on wheels', as part of their daily routine (are) now doing an additional check to ensure that people are coping in the heat and they're staying hydrated and giving them some advice about how they can stay well and comfortable in the extreme weather."

Age UK has released some top tips for staying cool during the heatwave including:

  • Stay inside during the hottest time of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm
  • If you’re travelling by car or public transport, always take a bottle of water.
  • Use sunscreen lotion of factor 15 or above
  • Splash your face with cool (not very cold) water, or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off
  • Limit activities like housework and gardening to cooler times of the day
  • Wear loose, lightweight, cotton clothing
  • Drink lots of fluids and eat more cold foods such as salad and fruit, which contain water
  • Eat normally – even if you aren’t hungry, you need a normal diet to replace salt losses from sweating
  • Contact your GP for advice if you have breathing problems or a heart condition, your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot

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