WORCESTERSHIRE could be set to experience a heatwave this week.
Met Office forecasters have warned the county to expect conditions similar to those of a heatwave and Public Health England (PHE) has warned people to take precautions against the soaring temperatures.
Affected areas include the West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, South East England and London.
Warnings that a heatwave may be imminent are triggered when the Met Office forecasts that there is a 60 per cent chance of temperatures being high enough on at least two consecutive days and the intervening night to have a significant effect on health, which will normally happen two or three days before a heatwave is expected to occur.
During hot spells vulnerable groups, such as the older people, feel the acute effects of heat more than others and it’s long been recognised that death rates rise in the early stages of heatwaves.
Even if temperatures do not hit extreme levels, PHE still advises people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.
Dr Rob Carr, PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team director, said: “While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.
"The Heatwave Plan is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during extreme heat.
"To prepare for any type of hot weather this summer, we strongly encourage each locality to consider the actions in this plan and adapt them to their local situation, as a component of wider resilience planning and long-term climate change adaptation arrangements.
“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it’s important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”
Many members of the Muslim community may be fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan – which this year begins and ends around June 29 and July 29.
Dr Carr added: “It is common for people to have one meal just before sunrise and an evening meal after sunset during Ramadan.
"During hot weather, dehydration is a common and serious risk. It is important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water.”
For more information visit sunsmart.org.uk.