Warning symptoms of heatstroke as heat-health alert issued

By Claire Schofield
Friday, 8th July 2022, 9:04 am
A level two heat-health alert warning has been issued ahead of the heatwave (Photo: Getty Images)
A level two heat-health alert warning has been issued ahead of the heatwave (Photo: Getty Images)

Parts of the UK will experience a heatwave over the weekend, with hot temperatures expected to last for a week.

The UK is set to be hotter than the likes of Los Angeles, Marbella and Santorini today (8 July) as temperatures reach 28C by the afternoon, kicking off the run of sunny days.

London, the South East and Eastern England will see highs of 28C and 26C today, while temperatures will be slightly cooler in the South West, the Midlands, and North West at 25C.

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Health warning over extreme temperatures

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a level 2 heat-health alert warning ahead of the heatwave, as the Met Office forecasts the hot weather to last throughout next week.

The alert is in place from 9am on Monday 11 July until Friday 15 July, and covers the East of England, South East and London regions.

A level 2 alert is triggered as soon as there is a 60% risk that temperature thresholds will be reached in one or more regions on at least two consecutive days and the night in between.

For an official Met Office heatwave, specific temperatures thresholds based on a particular region must be met for three consecutive days.

The last heatwave in the UK was three weeks ago, with 17 June marking the hottest day of the year so far at close to 33C.

David Oliver, Deputy Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “We’re at the start of a stretch of warm weather for much of England and Wales, that could last for much of next week.

“In the short term, many can expect temperatures in the mid to high 20s Celsius over the weekend and then in the low 30s Celsius during the start of next week.

“Much of next week will remain warm for the time of year, as well as dry and sunny.”

Today is forecast to be dry and sunny across England and Wales, with the warm weather to continue over the weekend and into early next week. The North West may experience slightly cooler temperatures and see some cloud and light rain.

Symptoms to spot in the heat

The UKHSA is urging people to take care in the heat and be aware of the common signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion is not usually serious if you can cool down within 30 minutes, but if it turns into heatstroke, it needs to be treated as an emergency, the NHS says.

Key warning symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

- a headache

- dizziness and confusion

- loss of appetite and feeling sick

- excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin

- cramps in the arms, legs and stomach

- fast breathing or pulse

- a high temperature of 38C or above

- being very thirsty

Heatstroke can be very serious if it is not treated quickly (Photo: Adobe)

The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy.

If you experience any of the symptoms, it is a sign that your body needs to be cooled down.

Drinking plenty of water and applying it to your skin will help, as well as moving to a cool, shaded spot, lying down and raising your feet slightly.

If you do not start to feel better and display any of the following signs, you should call 999 immediately:

- feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water

- not sweating even while feeling too hot

- a high temperature of 40C or above

- fast breathing or shortness of breath

- feeling confused

- a fit (seizure)

- loss of consciousness

- not responsive

These symptoms are all signs you may be suffering from heatstroke which can be very serious if it is not treated quickly:

To help prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke, the NHS recommends:

- drinking lots of cold drinks, especially when exercising

- taking cool baths or showers

- wearing light-coloured, loose clothing

- sprinkling water over skin or clothes

- avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm

- avoiding excess alcohol

- avoiding extreme exercise

These tips will also help to prevent your body from dehydrating, as well as keeping you cool.