Another Heat-health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency

The UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) heat-health alert service is designed to help healthcare professionals manage through periods of extreme temperature. The service acts as an early warning system for periods of high temperatures that may affect the public’s health.

The alert will be in place from midday Tuesday 9 August to 6pm on Saturday 13 August for all regions of England.

Temperatures are not forecast to reach the record-breaking levels of the most recent heatwave but are expected to rise throughout the week, potentially reaching mid-30 degrees Celsius on Friday and Saturday in the South East, London, the South West, and the East and West Midlands.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Temperatures will feel very warm again this week, particularly in southern and central parts of the country.

We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health. It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable – elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions – are prepared for coping during the hot weather.

The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating.

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Tony Wardle, said:

Heatwave criteria look likely to be met for large areas of the UK later this week, with the hottest areas expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday. Temperatures could peak at 35⁰C, or even an isolated 36⁰C on Saturday.

Elsewhere will see temperatures widely into the high 20s and low 30s Celsius later this week as temperatures build day-on-day through the week due to an area of high pressure extending over much of the UK.

Coupled with the high daytime temperatures will be continued warm nights, with the mercury expected to drop to only around low 20s Celsius for some areas in the south.

Read more on the forecast from the Met Office.

The top ways for staying safe during hot weather:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people who may also live alone, and those with underlying conditions are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down

High temperatures also present a risk of wildfires, especially after long dry periods. People with pre-existing heart and lung conditions such as asthma are most susceptible as breathing wildfire smoke may worsen their symptoms. Children and older people may also be susceptible to health impacts.

If wildfire smoke affects your area, avoid or reduce your exposure to smoke by staying indoors with the doors and windows closed.

Where possible avoid smoky areas. If you should travel through a smoky area, ensure that the vehicle windows are closed and the air conditioning is switched to recycle or recirculate if possible.

Listen out for local news reports and information from the emergency services who will provide advice on the precautions you should take.

Further information

Read the UKHSA blog on staying safe in extreme heat.

UKHSA’s Beat the heat checklist identifies suitable actions people can take to protect themselves during periods of hot weather.

For more information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, visit NHS.UK.

UKHSA has also published advice for the public on how to stay healthy during periods of drought.

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