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Level 3 ‘Heatwave’ alert issued for South East


The South East of England is more than likely to experience continued ‘heatwave’ conditions over the next few days, according to Met Office forecasts.


A Level 3 heatwave alert means people should be aware of the actions to protect themselves from the possible health effects of hot weather, and social and healthcare services are advised to take specific actions that target high-risk groups.


Level 3 alerts are triggered as soon as the Met Office confirms that threshold temperatures for one or more region have been reached for one day and one night and the forecast for the next day has a greater than 90 per cent chance of reaching the threshold again.


The threshold for South East is an average of 31°C in the day and 16°C at night.


This stage requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups.


Following this Met Office alert, Doctors from Public Health England in the South East are advising people to keep safe in the sun, seek shade to cool down and keep hydrated with plenty of cool fluids.

Top advice for being sun safe:

·         Try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm

·         Wear sunscreen

·         Wear loose cotton clothing

·         Drink lots of cool drinks

·         Seek shade

·         Wear sunglasses and a hat

·         Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses

·         Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals


Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.


Health and social care workers in the community, hospitals and care homes are advised to regularly check on vulnerable patients, share sun safety messages, make sure room temperatures are set below 26 degrees, ensure patients have access to cold water and ice and that medicines are stored in a cool place.


Local authorities, professionals and community groups can prepare for hot weather by reviewing the Heatwave Plan on the PHE website. 


Dr Jenny Harries, Regional Director, South of England said: “While many people enjoy hot weather, high temperatures can be dangerous, especially for people who may be particularly vulnerable such as older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.


“The Heatwave Plan is an important component of overall emergency planning and sets out a series of clear actions that can be taken by healthcare organisations, local authorities, professionals working with vulnerable people, and individuals to help keep people safe during extreme heat.


“During very hot weather, pregnant women and people who have chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular, respiratory, renal conditions, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, may experience discomfort if indoor temperatures are particularly hot and in using public transport. Employers should ensure indoor areas are kept cool and consider allowing these individuals to travel to or from their place of work during cooler, or less busy, times of the day. For those working or exercising outdoors, strenuous physical exertion during the hottest part of the day should be kept to a minimum.


“To prepare for any type of hot weather this summer, we strongly encourage each locality to consider the actions in this plan and adapt them to their local situation, as a component of wider resilience planning and long-term climate change adaptation arrangements.

“Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by keeping out of the heat at the hottest time of the day, avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated with plenty of cool drinks. The elderly and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of very hot weather, so it's important to look out for them and keep indoor areas as cool as possible.”

For more information on the PHE Heatwave Plan, please visit

Notes to editors:

1.        The Heatwave Plan for England 2013 ( was published by Public Health England.

2.       For more information about the Heat-Health Watch system from the Met Office, please visit:


3.       For more information about sun safety tips from Public Health England, please visit:


4.       For information about skin cancer and sun protection from Cancer Research UK, please visit:


5.       Further sun safety advice is available from NHS Choices:


6.      About Public Health England


Public Health England is a new executive agency of the Department of Health that took up its full responsibilities on 1 April, 2013. PHE works with national and local government, industry and the NHS to protect and improve the nation's health and support healthier choices and will be addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health. To find out more visit our website, follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.


Issued by: Public Health England Press Office (South East)

Tel: 01403 229075/229074. Out of hours telephone 07789 295454