How to stay safe in dangerously hot weather, according to the experts

The death of broadcaster and writer Michael Mosley in Greece this year has highlighted the very real dangers of hot weather, from dehydration to heat exhaustion to heat stroke.

18 June 2024, Greece, Athen: Tourists sit in the shade under a tree during their visit to the Acropolis. Greece has been hit by extreme heat particularly early this year: According to meteorologists, it has never been this hot since records began in early June. Temperatures reached up to 40 degrees at times - and even higher in the blazing midday sun. Photo: Socrates Baltagiannis/dpa (Photo by Socrates Baltagiannis/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Tourists shelter from the sun in Athens this year amid a deadly heatwave in Greece. (Getty Images)

With warnings of ‘record-breaking’ heatwaves this summer, and countries such as Turkey, Greece and Cyprus already roasting in high temperatures, British travellers are set to travel into dangerously hot weather this summer.

The death of broadcaster and writer Michael Mosley in Greece this year has highlighted the very real dangers of hot weather, from dehydration to heat exhaustion to heat stroke.

Yahoo News spoke to experts on how people can stay safe in the soaring temperatures across Europe.

Digital tools such as ‘share my location’ can be a useful safety measure in extremely hot weather, says Abbas Kanani, superintendent pharmacist at Chemist Click.

Kanani says, "Sharing your location with friends or family during hot weather spells is advised, especially when engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, or running which may put you at higher risk of getting lost or injured.

"Google Maps, Apple Find My, or other location-sharing services allow you to share your location in real-time and can be reliable. You should also carry a power bank to avoid you being left without any way of contacting someone in an emergency."

At temperatures over 32C, you are more likely to develop heat exhaustion - at over 40C you are more likely to develop heatstroke, warns Dr Angela Rai, GP at The London General Practice.

Dr Rai says, "Heatstroke occurs after progression from milder heat related symptoms, to heat exhaustion and eventually heatstroke.

Silhouette of a man drinking water during heat wave
You should be drinking three litres of water per day. (Getty)

"Heat exhaustion can present with headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, a temperature above 38°C, excessive sweating, pale, clammy skin and feeling very thirsty.

"Heatstroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is a medical emergency. You should seek urgent medical attention or call 999 if you suspect someone has heatstroke.

"Heatstroke happens when your body's normal mechanisms for regulating your temperature break down, and your temperature rises to more than 40°C."

Normally you should drink between 1.5 and two litres of water per day, but in hot weather, this goes up, says Dr Rai.

"We need to drink up to around 3 litres a day on a hot day however it is important to space this out throughout the day and not to drink excessive amounts all at once," Dr Rai says.

"It is also important to replenish electrolytes when you are sweating. Sports drinks, coconut water or a snack will help this."

To avoid heat stroke, you should avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you and reduces awareness of symptoms.

Travellers should also avoid strenuous exercise, especially between 11am and 3pm.

Dr Rai says, "If you are feeling hot, put a damp flannel on the back of your neck and keep changing it. As the water evaporates from your skin, it will cool you down.

"If in the car keep water with you, wear light thin clothes and make regular stops if a long journey - cool down in air-conditioned service station."

Children and babies are more at risk from dehydration, as they can easily forget to drink enough.

Dr Rai says, "Signs of dehydration in a baby include- dry mouth, few or no tears when crying, sunken eyes or sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on baby’s head), dry nappies, drowsiness and fast breathing."

Heatwaves can be deadly for elderly people with dementia, as sufferers can sometimes wander outdoors without adequate clothing or forget to drink enough water.

But tech can help, says Lauren Frake, Elderly Care Expert at TakingCare - with several apps which can help people with dementia and other memory issues stay safe in the heat.

Frake says, "There’s lots of technology available to support people who live with dementia and to help keep them safe during a heatwave.

"For example, apps like Water Drink Reminder will push notifications to your phone and smartwatch to remind the user to drink to stay on top of the target water intake for the day."