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Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning to vulnerable adults, children and those with health conditions, over the forecast ‘heatwave’ effecting parts of England.
Parents and carers of infants, young children and those with health conditions are being warned to stay out of the sun and keep hydrated as the Met Office has forecast the hottest temperatures of the year so far.
Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at PHE said: “Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for most people there’s nothing to really worry about.
“But for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, summer heat can bring real health risks.
“This summer we’re urging people to keep an eye on those at-risk and if you’re able, offer help to stay cool and hydrated. This is a good time, before the warmer weather arrives, to think about who you may be able to assist and what you may be able to do. There’s lots of guidance on NHS Choices and more detail in the Heatwave Plan for England.”
Hottest day of 2016
PHE is urging people to look out for elderly neighbours, relatives and friends who may be susceptible to the heat, while parents and carers are being urged to take extra care of babies, young children and those with health issues.
The Met Office declared a Level 2 heat-health alert this morning which means that there is a high chance that temperatures will hit certain thresholds for two days and the intervening night.
Temperature are predicted to reach 34 degrees Celsius on Tuesday 19 July, causing Government officials to issue health warnings due to extreme heat. While highs of 31 degrees Celsius were recorded today (Monday 18 July) making it the hottest day of 2016 so far.
Chief operational meteorologist at the Met Office Paul Gundersen, said: “High pressure, warm air and light winds will result in widespread very warm conditions today (Monday), becoming locally hot, with isolated thunderstorms developing, these most likely across northern England.
“Tonight temperatures fall a little, but then through tomorrow temperatures rise again as very warm air pushes north from across the Continent. This will lead to widespread hot conditions, with increasing humidity as well.
“The very warm and humid weather will continue through Tuesday evening and much of Wednesday leading to a hot and humid night. Meanwhile, intense thunderstorms may develop, these most likely across northern England.
“On Wednesday, fresher conditions gradually arrive from the west across England, clearing away the thunderstorms eastwards.”
St John’s Ambulance training officer, Clive James said: “Extreme heat can be dangerous, particularly for the very young and old, but by being prepared you can spot the early warning signs and potentially be the difference between life and death in an emergency.
“Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the most serious problems that can develop when the mercury soars so it’s essential that people can spot the signs, such as headache and dizziness, and get them somewhere cool and rehydrated as soon as possible.”
Drink plenty and stay in the shade
People are being encouraged to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary, caffeinated and adults are being urged to avoid alcoholic drinks in particular, as these can make you more dehydrated.
Other advice includes: staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, closing curtains on rooms that face the sun and open windows when it feels cooler outside and is safe to do so. While people are being urged not to leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, small children and animals.
If outside, it is advisable to walk in the shade, wear sunscreen and a hat, as well as light, loose fitting cotton clothing and avoid physical exertion during the hottest part of the day.
Dr Bone added: “The hot weather won’t make life difficult for all of us; indeed, many of us will make the most of it when the sun shines. But some people may not be able to adapt to the extra strain hot weather will put on their bodies and may feel the ill-effects.
“Each year we hear stories of people who have fallen seriously ill because, even though it’s hotter, they may wear clothes which are too warm for hot weather, they may not drink enough or just try to do too much.
“By looking out for each other this summer we, health professionals, councils and the public, can all help each other stay well this summer.”
NHS Choices offer advice on coping with a heatwave: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx