Home » Breaking » The heat health alert has been ramped up to level 4 for the first time on record, with temperatures on Monday and Tuesday next week (18-19 July), potentially reaching as high as 40°C
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The heat health alert has been ramped up to level 4 for the first time on record, with temperatures on Monday and Tuesday next week (18-19 July), potentially reaching as high as 40°C

For the first time in history, the heat health alert has been raised to level 4, with temperatures on Monday and Tuesday next week (18-19 July) potentially reaching 40°C.

A severe heatwave, according to the government’s Level 4 alert, could have consequences beyond health and social care, affecting transportation systems, food, water, energy supplies, and businesses.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), a partnership of organisations and agencies that work together to ensure a coordinated response to emergencies and other issues affecting Kent, is advising residents to be prepared and will support vulnerable people check-ins.

The very young, the elderly, and those suffering from health conditions such as heart and lung disease are especially vulnerable, but it is prudent for all residents to take precautions when temperatures soar.

Monday and Tuesday are expected to be the warmest days, with highs of 40°C possible.

Health professionals are urging people to check on friends, relatives, and neighbours who may be unable to care for themselves. Keep cool, stay hydrated, and be prepared, for example, by staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, drinking cold drinks on a regular basis, such as water, and avoiding tea, coffee, and alcohol.

People are also encouraged to plan ahead of time for essential supplies such as medicines to avoid having to travel during the day.

Dr. Anjan Ghosh, KCC Director of Public Health, is in charge of the KRF response. “We are expecting record temperatures, and while we have never seen a level 4 alert before, the important thing is that we all prepare appropriately to deal with the extreme heat – it is critical that people think carefully about what they need to do to protect themselves, their families, and especially vulnerable people who may require extra assistance,” he said.

“Those who are elderly, have underlying health conditions, or have young children are especially vulnerable.” But keep in mind that these temperatures can pose risks to everyone, so be prepared. Avoid travelling if possible, especially during the day. If you must travel, plan ahead of time and check for traffic. Bring plenty of water, allow extra time for stops, and consider any medications you might require if your journey takes longer than expected.”

The following are some of the best tips for staying safe in hot weather:

Keep an eye out for those who may struggle to stay cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions, and those who live alone are especially vulnerable.
Keep cool indoors by closing curtains in rooms that face the sun – and keep in mind that it may be cooler outside than inside.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
Never leave anyone, especially infants, small children, or animals, in a closed, parked vehicle.
Check that refrigerators, freezers, and fans are working properly, and try to avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when UV rays are at their strongest. Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen, and wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you must go out in the heat, avoid physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day, and bring water with you. If you must travel, take care and follow local safety advice. If you are going into the water to cool down, make sure that medicines can be stored according to the packaging instructions.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will continue to monitor any heat-related illnesses and will collaborate with the Met Office, the NHS, and other government agencies to assess the effects of the hot weather.

People are advised not to visit A&E or dial 999 unless it is an emergency. If you are unsure, NHS111 can assist you in receiving the appropriate treatment.

“However much we might like the sun, we know that it can have detrimental effects on your health, especially for the young, our elderly residents, and those who are most vulnerable,” said Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at NHS Kent and Medway. Simple precautions, such as staying hydrated and seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day, can greatly reduce your chances of becoming ill and requiring the services of the NHS. Could I also ask you to check in on your vulnerable neighbours, families, and friends as needed?

If you become ill, please remember to dial 111 as your first point of contact for medical assistance, unless it is an emergency. By dialling 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk, you will be directed to the appropriate service.

You can also go to www.stopthinkchoose.co.uk, which lists local services such as pharmacies and urgent treatment centres.”

More information about what Kent County Council is doing to protect the people of Kent can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/heatwave.

Dr. Agostinho Sousa, UKHSA’s Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, stated:

Temperatures in England are expected to reach record highs next week, so it’s critical that we all know how to stay healthy in hot weather. Check on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbours to ensure they are hydrated, cool, and understand how to keep their homes cool.

The Met Office’s Chief Executive, Professor Penny Endersby, stated:

This is the first time we have issued a Red National Severe Weather Warning for extreme heat, and it is also the first time that temperatures of 40°C are expected in the UK. In this country, we’re accustomed to viewing a hot spell as an opportunity to go outside and play in the sun. This isn’t the kind of weather.

We’ve seen how climate change has caused such unprecedented severe weather events around the world that it can be difficult to make the best decisions because nothing in our lives has prepared us for what to expect.

NHS.UK has more information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.