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Four-day yellow heat alert issued by the Met Office and UK Health Security Agency, as temperatures set to soar to 30c this week

Updated: Jul 1


Woman walking in the sun


UKHSA and the Met Office in the UK have issued a yellow alert warning for this week as temperatures rise to the hottest day of the year. But what does this mean and who might be affected?


Where in the UK does the alert apply?


Essentially the whole of England except Northumberland/North- East. See map.


Weather warning in the UK

Source: UKHSA


What do the alerts mean?


The Met Office working with the UKHSA have devised an alerting system during periods of hot and cold weather. Here’s a handy chart to show what it might mean for you and the population as a whole.

 

So, as you can see, a yellow heat alert is most likely to affect the vulnerable members of society.



Weather alerts from the MET Office


Who might be vulnerable?


These include the following:


  • The very young <5 yrs

  • The older population >65yrs

  • Are pregnant or have long term health conditions

  • Those who are unable to look after themselves and need assistance

  • Anyone who is frail and can fall easily

  • Those with learning disabilities


What are the effects of extreme heat?

During periods of very hot weather, you can be at risk of heat exhaustion or even worse heatstroke, which is a medical emergency.

 

How can I tell the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke?

 

Heat exhaustion

It’s important to recognise this as if you’re able to cool down within 30 minutes, it doesn’t usually require any emergency treatment.

Symptoms can include, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, feeling thirsty, headache, leg cramps, and a high temperature. You might also experience your heart is beating fast or you’re breathing faster than usual.

 

What to do in the event of heat exhaustion

  • Move yourself or the vulnerable individual to a cool, shady area

  • Remove an unnecessary clothing like jackets, etc

  • Use a damp cloth or sponge soaked in cool water and sponge them down especially around the neck and armpits

  • Give them plenty of cool drinks as they will be dehydrated, and it will also help cool them down

 

They should get better within 30 minutes but if they don’t, you’ll need to look for signs of heatstroke.


What are the signs of heatstroke?


This is a medical emergency and in addition to the above, you’ll need to watch out for the following:


  • Feeling drowsy

  • Unconsciousness

  • Seizures

  • Skin feeling hot and red but not sweating much

  • A high temperature despite moving to a cool place for 30 minutes

  • Confusion and/or unsteady on feet

 

If a vulnerable individual has any of the above symptoms, then you must call 999 for urgent hospital admission.

 

What precautions can you take if you or your loved ones are vulnerable?

 

Of course, you can take steps to prevent heat exhaustion in the first place.  Here are some simple measures:

 

  1. Make sure you take plenty of cool drinks throughout the day

  2. Wear loose and light-coloured clothing

  3. Avoid sunlight from 11am – 4pm

  4. Avoid excessive exercise or alcohol

  5. If it’s very hot, then stay indoors

  6. Open windows: You should open windows at the opposite ends of the room so that there’s a flow of air. If it’s hotter outside than inside the house, then you should shut the windows.

  7. Close the curtains: This will stop heat getting in and keep the room in the shade, if it’s hotter outside.

  8. Keep your mobile phone close by: If you’re vulnerable and have poor mobility, make sure you have your phone fully charged and nearby so that you can ask for help if you’re able to keep yourself cool.

  9. Use a fan: Because hot air rises, place the fan on the floor so that cool air from the bottom of the room is pushed up to cool the room. Even better still, you can place a bowl of ice/bucket of ice or an ice-pack in front of the fan to cool the air.


Use a fan when the temperature is high

Finally, please don’t worry. Very hot spells in the UK are uncommon and usually short-lived despite global warning. By following these handy tips and keeping a charged mobile phone close by, you’ll be able to stay cool and ask for help if necessary.

 

Are you jetting off to somewhere hot? Did you know that we offer travel health advice and travel vaccinations. If you would like to learn more about the travel vaccinations, why don't you call our friendly and knowledgeable staff on 02476 016519 or alternatively you can book online at a time that's convenient to you. To help you work around your busy schedule we can offer a choice of telephone, video or face to face consultations. If you request an in-clinic consultation, it does have the advantage of you being able to receive your vaccinations at the same time as your consultation.

 






References:


Reviewed and approved by:

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

MBBS, MRCP(UK), DTM&H, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP

 

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