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Older people could be affected by heatwave

Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging healthcare staff to follow the Heatwave Plan during the upcoming high temperatures. 

The Met Office has forecast heatwave conditions for parts of the South East, London, the East of England, the East Midlands and West Midlands in England over the next few days. 

The warning is triggered when there is a 60% or higher chance of temperatures being high enough to have a significant effect on health for at least two consecutive days. 

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.

The Heatwave Plan also points out that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too especially at night. Because this heatwave period is expected to start on Thursday evening and go into Friday daytime and through until Saturday daytime PHE is stressing the importance of keeping homes cool.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England (PHE), said: “The Heatwave Plan, which we published earlier this year, 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.

“Many members of the Muslim community may be fasting during the current period of Ramadan. During hot weather it's important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink enough water. The Muslim Council of Britain and the NHS have published lots of useful information for those likely affected during this period.”

Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan for England.