SEARING heat has led to weather and health experts issuing warnings this week – but who should be particularly wary of the blistering temperatures?

The Met Office issued an amber extreme heat warning alongside public health partners across the UK covering a large part of Wales, all of southwest England and parts of southern and central England.

It is the first time such a warning has been issued and it will be in force until the end of Thursday.

NHS guidance makes clear the consequences of a heat wave can be felt by anyone but groups highlighted as vulnerable include:

• older people – particularly those over 75

• those who live on their own or in a care home

• people who have a serious or long term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease or some mental health conditions

• those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer's disease

• people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside

A Public Health England (PHE) statement said: “Much of England can expect hot weather, particularly in the south west and parts of southern and central England.

“High temperatures are also expected to persist in these areas overnight offering little respite throughout this period.

Health risks can increase over a prolonged period of heat.”

Dr Owen Landeg, scientific and technical lead at PHE, said: “Everybody can be affected by high temperatures and most people are aware of good health advice for coping with hot weather.

“However, it’s important to keep checking on those who are most vulnerable such as older people and those with heart or lung conditions.

“As we experience the first hot weather episode of the year, it’s important for everyone to remember to adapt their behaviours. This is particularly important during the pandemic with many people self-isolating.

“Most of us want to enjoy the sun. Remember to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and follow our simple health advice to beat the heat.”

Tips to reduce the impact, particularly on the vulnerable, include:

• looking out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk.

• staying cool indoors: many of us may need to stay safe at home this summer so know how to keep your home cool.

• closing curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.

• using cool spaces considerately if going outdoors, and wash your hands regularly.

• drinking plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.

• never leaving anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.

• trying to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest.

• walking in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat.

• avoiding physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.

• making sure you take water with you, if you are travelling.

• taking care and follow local safety advice if you are going into open water to cool down – during warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief.

• remembering that while coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are in place, you will need to follow any additional government guidance to use public spaces safely.