Stay safe in the soaring temperatures

Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it's too hot for too long, there are health risks.

A hand makes the shape of an "O" and places it in front of the sun the the sun light shines through the hole. In the background there are sandy mountain and a blue sky with white clouds.
Sunlight shining through hand.

Why is a heatwave a problem?

The main risks posed by a heatwave are: 

  • not having enough water (dehydration) 
  • overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
  • heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Who's most at risk?

A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people, especially those over 75
  • babies and young children
  • people with a serious long-term condition, especially heart or breathing problems
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson's disease or who have had a stroke
  • people with serious mental health problems
  • people on certain medicines, including those that affect sweating and temperature control
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs
  • people who are physically active – for example, labourers or those doing sports

Read more about heatwave alert levels on NHS.uk and about how the current COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the health risks from heat on PHE.uk.