Whilst most of us enjoy sunny weather, the extreme heat of a heatwave can be seriously damaging to your health, and can sometimes be fatal.
Whilst extreme heat is dangerous to everyone it is especially so for vulnerable groups including:
- babies and young children
- the elderly
- those living in care homes
- at-risk groups, such as those with existing breathing or heart problems
When temperatures remain abnormally high over more than a couple of days, excessive heat can prove fatal. In recent years, there have been heatwave periods in England in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and 2020. 2020 saw the highest level of heat-related excess deaths totally over 2500 across England in the year. Research shows our summers are getting hotter and therefore it is important to take steps to ensure you stay safe.
Symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion can appear rapidly and it is important, especially for vulnerable groups to take extra precautions during such extreme weather.
The NHS introduced the Heatwave Plan in 2004 and this is updated annually. They have produced guidance documents on how to look after yourselves and others during extreme temperatures. These documents also provide guidance for those working in health or social care work, or those who look after vulnerable people.
If you require immediate medical advice, please contact NHS on 111 or, in an emergency only, call 999.
Heatwave advice for businesses
To help businesses look after their employees during hot weather, Kent County Council, in partnership with Low Carbon Kent, have produced a helpful factsheet on heatwaves.