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39 degrees in the sun

19th July 2006

Hospitals and care services are on "red alert" during the current heatwave.

The government has a level three heat-health warning in place to prompt care services to be on the look out for those at risk in the high temperatures.

Officials at the Department of Health (DH) have warned that France's ten day heatwave claimed 14,000 lives, despite temperatures being lower than current UK levels.

The country may face its hottest ever day today (Wednesday), with temperatures potentially hitting 39 degrees C.

An academic consultant on the government's heatwave plan, Professor Bill Keatinge, has called for emergency TV broadcasts to inform the public of the dangers and give advice.

"It sounds obvious but in France so many called an ambulance that there was a wait of two to three hours and hospitals were overwhelmed," he said.

Professor Keatinge continued that those most at risk of dehydration are the elderly and overweight, as they are less able to lose body heat, and those with heart conditions.