We must learn to heed the warnings in hot weather

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It seems that the only topic of conversation at the moment is the weather, or more specifically the heat in which our country has basked and sweated recently.

There has now been a week of temperatures over 30C, and each day there have been blue skies, often cloudless, which is a sight to lift everyone’s spirits, especially by the coast when it makes everything seem a little magical.

And indeed, we hope sunshine brings out the crowds this weekend, whether to the Southsea Food festival, the Staunton Festival, Bridgemary Carnival and everywhere in between.

But it’s not churlish to sound a note of caution amid this rare good summer. While we can glory in the fact that, unlike previous Julys, we are not beset by flooding, there are serious dangers.

Consider the latest news – as many as 760 deaths have been attributed to this current heatwave. As well as the health risks already publicised, there are now alerts over wildfires starting. And some have issued dire warnings of 35C on the horizon. Yesterday, Lee-on-the-Solent recorded one of the highest temperatures in the country at 30.5C so this is something that affects us, here, now.

We could call for more public warnings to be issued, but the authorities, from government to local councils, to health organisations to animal welfare trusts have been quick to push advice.

Instead, the important thing is not for the powers that be to produce more help but for us to be more receptive to it, because as mentioned, these temperatures can be fatal, and not just to those who take ill-fated dips in rivers and reservoirs. We must realise that temperatures above 30C are extreme, certainly for an island more used to cold and rain.

Enjoy the sun, but try not to spend too long in it if possible between the peak times 11am and 3pm. Make sure you drink water, and keep an eye on those – the elderly, the young, and those with health conditions – who may be susceptible. People pushing advice are not kill-joys: they know what they are talking about. This weather may put a spring in your step – but make sure it also plants a note of caution in your mind.