525% increase in NHS website visits for heat exhaustion advice

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

Figures released by NHS Digital show that there were 185,184 visits to the health advice page on heat exhaustion and heatstroke last week (9 – 15 July), compared to 29,608 in the previous week (2 – 8 July).

There was also another surge in visits last weekend (16 – 17 July) 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 forecast to reach 40°C in some parts of the UK.

The Red Extreme heat national severe weather warning covers today and tomorrow (18 and 19 July) for parts of central, northern, eastern and south-eastern England. An Amber Extreme heat warning is also in place for much of England and Wales.

The NHS website, which is managed by NHS Digital, includes advice on checking 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’ve seen a huge increase in visits to the heat exhaustion page over the past week, reaching a peak of over 55,000 visits on Sunday.

“The section was also the second most visited page on the NHS website on Sunday, behind the page on Coronavirus self-isolation advice.

“So far in July, we’ve had over 300,000 visits to the heat exhaustion and heatstroke page on the website.”

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

  • Drink plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising
  • Take cool baths or showers
  • Wear light-coloured, loose clothing
  • Sprinkle water over skin or clothes
  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • Avoid excess alcohol
  • Avoid extreme exercise

The NHS website has over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions as well as other health services, including applying for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card for healthcare cover abroad; finding a GP or dentist; and a BMI healthy weight calculator.


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