Saturday 16 July 2022 9:15 AM UTC
LONDON July 16: Britain’s Met Office issued its first ever “red” warning for exceptional heat, saying record temperatures early next week will put even healthy people at risk of serious illness and death.
The warning covers Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures in England may reach 40°C for the first time, the agency said.
The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK is 38. 7°C, set in 2019.
The UK Health Security Agency increased its own alert to the highest level, warning of a “national emergency”.
“At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups,” it said.
The government’s Level 4 alert indicates that a severe heatwave could have impacts beyond health and social care with potential effects on transport systems, food, water, energy supplies and businesses.
The Met Office has issued an extreme heat warning for next week. Please remember the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke especially for older and medically vulnerable people. Early intervention to cool people down and rehydrate them can be lifesaving.https://t.co/E8U0ELTxqy pic.twitter.com/0xpSauGl2O
— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) July 15, 2022
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will continue to monitor any heat-related illness and work closely with the Met Office, the NHS and other government departments to assess the impacts of this hot weather.
Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA said: “Temperatures in England next week are likely to reach record levels, and it’s important we all know how to stay well in hot weather. Check up on vulnerable friends, family and neighbours to make sure they stay hydrated, keep cool and know how to keep their homes cool.
Professor Penny Endersby, Chief Executive at the Met Office, said: “This is the first time we have issued a Red National Severe Weather Warning for extreme heat and the first time 40°C has been forecast in the UK. In this country we’re used to treating a hot spell as a chance to go and play in in the sun. This is not that sort of weather.
We have seen when climate change has driven such unprecedent severe weather events around the world that it can be difficult for to make the best decisions because nothing in our life experiences has led us to know what to expect.
Top tips for staying safe in hot weather include:
look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone 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
never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
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
take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down
check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging
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