Heatwaves

Introduction

Extreme heat

Extreme heat is potentially dangerous to everyone.  During a heatwave, when temperatures remain abnormally high over more than a couple of days, it can prove fatal.

Those at risk during hot weather include older people, especially those over 75, the very young and people with chronic or severe illnesses.

Climate change means heat waves are likely to become more common in England. The National Health Service reports that during one hot spell in London in August 2003, deaths among people aged over 75 rose by 60%.

During extremely hot weather there is a risk of developing heat exhaustion, heatstroke and other heat related problems including respiratory and heart problems.  It is important to know that during an extreme heatwave fit and healthy people can also be affected.

Tips for coping during a heatwave include:

  • Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves
  • Shut and shade windows when it is hotter outside and open them for ventilation when it is cooler outside
  • If you are vulnerable to the effects of heat, avoid going out between 11am-3pm
  • Drink cold drinks like water or fruit juice regularly and avoid tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with supplies
  • Keep plenty of water to hand and stay in the shade where possible
  • Identify the coolest room in the house

For more information please see NHS heatwave advice.

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