Red weather warning: Why are heatwaves dangerous? Who is most at risk? How to cope in extreme heat - the NHS explains

As temperatures rise and a red weather warning is issued for Yorkshire, the NHS shares tips on how to cope during a heatwave.

While a hot sunny day may seem like an ideal way to spend your time, the extreme levels the country will be experiencing over the next week can be a risk to your health.

The Met Office has already issued its first ever red weather warning for extreme heat in the UK. The red warning also covers areas of Yorkshire including Leeds, York, Doncaster and Selby.

According to the NHS, in England there are on average 2,000 heat related deaths every year. So if the hot weather continues, you must make sure it doesn’t harm you or anyone you know.

Sunbathing during a heatwave. (Pic credit: Stu Norton)

Here are the NHS top tips for coping in hot weather:

- Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated including older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone.

- Stay cool indoors.

- Close curtains in rooms that are facing the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler.

- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, as it can cause dehydration.

- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, particularly young children, infants or animals.

- Try to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm.

- Walk in the shade, apply sun cream regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat.

- Avoid exercising or vigorous activity during peak parts of the day.

- Make sure you take water with you everywhere you go, if you are travelling.

- If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice.

Why are heatwaves dangerous?

The NHS states the main risks posed by a heatwave. These are:

- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)

- Overheating, which can make symptoms worse for those who already have problems with their heart or breathing

- Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Who is most at risk?

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

- Older people - particularly those who are 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

- People who may find it difficult to keep cool, like babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer’s disease

- People who spend lots of time outside or in hot places, for example those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outdoors.