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York GP urges patients to stay safe in heatwave

Updated: 15 July 2022

sunshineWith weather warnings issued for much of England, a GP in York is encouraging patients to follow the guidance to stay safe and avoid feeling unwell during the heatwave.

Although hot weather is welcomed by most people, when it's too hot for too long, there are health risks. In England, there are on average 2,000 heat-related deaths every year.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning on Sunday 17 July, and a red warning for extreme heat on Monday 18 July and Tuesday 19 July. Population-wide adverse health effects may be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to serious illness or danger to life.

During this period, 999 services should be used in emergencies only. People who require non-emergency health advice should contact 111.

Dr Abbie Brooks, a GP Partner at Priory Medical Group, said: "Whilst we want everyone to enjoy the good weather, the very young, the elderly and the seriously ill should take extra care, as these groups are most susceptible to the risk of health problems when the weather is hot.

"The heat can make heart and breathing problems worse, and cause symptoms such as dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you see someone struggling, offer them water and help them into the shade."

With the summer heat making it tempting to go for a swim to cool off, the Royal Life Saving Society warns that the temperature of open water will still be low, which may lead to difficulties caused by cold water shock.

Those planning to go swimming should choose a safe place, such as a lifeguarded beach.

Why is hot weather a problem?

The main risks posed by hot weather are:

Who is most at risk?

Hot weather can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

Tips for coping in hot weather

Watch out for signs of heat-related illness

If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Find out about the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and when to get help.

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