With the Met Office issuing its first-ever amber extreme heat warning for large areas of the UK, it's important that we look after ourselves in this hot weather.
The warning comes as the forecast continues to signal for unusually high temperatures for the western area and continuing high night-time temperatures, creating potential impacts for health. [i]
The impacts of extreme heat can vary but can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable people such as those with underlying health conditions and the older population.
During the COVID–19 pandemic, it is imperative that everyone, particularly those that are vulnerable, know what actions to take to keep themselves safe. Here is some advice to help keep you cool in these extreme conditions:
Stay out of the heat
Cool yourself down
Keep your home cool
Look out for others
Overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke
With the extreme heat, older or vulnerable people need to look out for signs of overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Overheating can cause muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Heat exhaustion is fatigue resulting from prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, intense thirst, heavy sweating and a fast pulse. If you have any of these, find a cool place, loosen tight clothing, drink plenty of water or fruit juice, sponge yourself with cool water, or have a cool shower. If your symptoms don’t improve within 30 minutes, seek medical advice.
Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated – it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms include confusion, disorientation, seizures and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is life-threatening, so if you or someone else shows symptoms, call 999 immediately. [iii]