Heat exhaustion advice page on NHS website sees spike in visits during hot spell

Rising temperatures have led to a 552% surge in people seeking heat exhaustion advice from the NHS website this week.

There were 32,130 visits to the health advice page on heat exhaustion and heatstroke from Sunday to Thursday this week, according to figures released by NHS England – which runs the NHS website.

Only 4,928 visits were made during the same period last week.

Temperatures could reach 30C again today for a record fifth consecutive day in September.

Thursday was provisionally the hottest day of the year so far, with 32.6C recorded in Wisley, Surrey.

With temperatures up to 33C possible over the weekend, the UK Health Security Agency, which provides alerts for the health and social care sector in England, has issued an Amber Heat Health Alert across most of the country until 9pm on Sunday September 10.

The warning highlights the increased risks for those more vulnerable to heat including people over the age of 65 or with pre-existing health conditions, such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, the health service said.

(PA Graphics)

Dame Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said there is a high risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke during hot weather especially among children, older people and those with long-term conditions.

Dame Ruth continued: “Keeping the body cool and drinking plenty of fluids is vitally important, as well as dressing sensibly.

“We also advise using high-factor sun screen and limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun to avoid the risk of sunburn and to prevent skin cancer.”

The NHS advises that if someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion they need to be cooled down and given fluids.

If their condition doesn’t start to improve after 30 minutes, seek medical attention by calling 111 or 999 in an emergency.

Other NHS tips to avoid heat exhaustion include:

– Consume plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising
– Take cool baths or showers
– Wear light-coloured, loose clothing
– Sprinkle water over skin or clothes
– Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
– Avoid excess alcohol
– Avoid extreme exercise