Health Warning – Heatwave Alert at AMBER (Level 2)

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Archive

The Met Office and NHS Direct are advising that an Amber Level 2 ‘Heat-Health’ Alert has been issued for the next several days.  Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, Martin Young, added: “Temperatures are likely to build through the first part of this week, with a 60% chance of reaching 33 °C by midweek, before becoming less hot by the weekend”.

The NHS Direct website advises:

  • Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm).
  • If you go outside, thickly apply sun cream with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Children should use a higher SPF sun cream.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY, or gardening.
  • If you go outside, stay in the shade.
  • Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton.
  • Close the curtains in rooms that get a lot of sun.
  • Take cool showers or baths, and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck.
  • Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty – water and fruit juice are best.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol as they can cause dehydration.

NHS Choices Advises:

High temperatures can be dangerous, especially for:

  • the elderly, 
  • the very young, and 
  • people with chronic or long-term medical conditions.

In alert level two, you don’t need to take immediate action but if the level of alert is raised, more information will be issued. 

In the meantime, make sure you’re prepared in case the weather stays hot:

  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the TV or radio. If you’re planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination, too. 
  • Plan ahead. Stock up with supplies so you don’t need to go out during extreme heat. Think about what medicines, food and non-alcoholic drinks you’ll need.
  • Keep plenty of water to hand and stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Identify the coolest room in the house.


  • Enjoy the weather but try to stay cool. Avoid going outside between 11am and 3pm as this is the hottest part of the day. Spend time in the shade and avoid strenuous activity. 
  • Help others. Check up on your neighbours, relatives and friends who may be less able to look after themselves (for example, if they have mobility problems). 
  • Drink water or fruit juice regularly. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. If you do drink alcohol make sure you have lots of water or other non-alcoholic drinks as well. 
  • Keep rooms cool by using shade or reflective material external to the glass, or if not possible by closing pale coloured curtains. Metal blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter.
  • Keep the windows closed while the room is cooler than it is outside. If safe, open windows at night when the air is cooler.
  • People with heart problems, breathing difficulties or serious illnesses may find their symptoms become worse in hot weather. Make sure you have enough medicines in stock and take extra care to keep cool.

Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone in hot weather and if it isn’t treated it can lead to heatstroke, which can be dangerous and even fatal.

If you or any one else feels unwell, drink water and go somewhere cool to rest. If symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, weakness or cramps get worse or don’t go away, seek medical help.

Care homes and hospitals
If you run a care home or hospital, during alert level two you should:

  • Monitor indoor temperatures four times a day.
  • Prepare cool areas.
  • Ensure you have enough staff to help keep residents and patients cool.
  • Identify high-risk residents/patients.
  • Make sure everyone has access to enough cold water and ice.


Contact your doctor, a pharmacist or NHS Direct (0845 4647) if you’re worried about your health during a heatwave, especially if you are taking medication, or have any unusual symptoms.

A big 'thank you' goes to Hollyoak Veterinary Surgery in Impington for their financial and technical support. Without it this website would not be possible.

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