525% increase in visits to the NHS website for advice on heat exhaustion

Visits to the heat exhaustion section of the NHS website have increased by 525% over the past week.

Figures published by NHS Digital show there were 185,184 visits to the health advice page on heat exhaustion and heat stroke from July 9 to 15, up from 29,608 the previous week (from July 2 to July 8).

There was also another increase in visits last weekend (July 16-17) with 86,914 visits in 48 hours, an average of one visit every two seconds.

The Met Office has issued its first-ever red warning for exceptional heat, with temperatures predicted to hit 40C in parts of the UK.

The national red extreme heat severe weather warning has been issued for parts of central, northern, eastern and southeastern England. An Amber Extreme Heat Warning is also in place for much of England and Wales.

The NHS website, which is run by NHS Digital, includes advice on looking for signs of heat exhaustion, things you can do to cool someone down and preventing heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Shaun Hasney, NHS Digital’s head of digital analytics for the NHS website, said: ‘We have seen a huge increase in visits to the heat exhaustion page over the past week, reaching a peak over 55,000 visits on Sunday.

“The section was also the second most visited page on the NHS website on Sunday, behind the coronavirus self-isolation advice page. So far in July we have had over 300,000 hits on the heat exhaustion and heat stroke page on the website.

The NHS website includes the following advice on preventing heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

l Drink plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising

l Take cool baths or showers

l Wear bright, loose clothing

l Sprinkle water on skin or clothes

l Avoid the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The NHS website is over 4,000 pages and provides information on 990 medical conditions as well as other health services, including applying for a free UK World Health Card for cover for health care abroad; find a general practitioner or dentist; and a BMI healthy weight calculator.

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