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Dizziness, headache, dry skin … how to spot heatstroke – and avoid it in the first place

By Emma Beddington

14 Jul 2022 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

Climate change has led to a summer of global heatwaves, which are only set to get worse in years to come. This article suggests ways to keep safe in such extreme weather conditions.

The train tracks are on fire and the NHS may declare a level 4 heat emergency (there’s no level 5). This is a summer of unprecedented temperatures, with more, and worse, to come. “The world is undoubtedly experiencing more extreme heating,” says Martin Siegert of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, highlighting “literally unbearable” temperatures in India and Pakistan this year. “We are now, on average, 1.2C (2.2F) warmer than we should be because of our emissions. This means that things, sadly, will get worse.” An extra 0.3C (0.5F) is “unavoidable”, meaning, Siegert says, “Extreme heating episodes will continue to increase in frequency and severity. Unless we deliver net zero by mid-century, temperatures will rise well above the 1.5C (2.7F) level, with terrible consequences for climate heating in ways we have yet to witness fully.”

The only solution is to take action, using our votes and voices to press politicians to reduce emissions, urgently. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and many other charities have practical suggestions on how you can get involved. But right now we, our parents, grandparents, children and even pets are all at risk of heat exhaustion and, worse, heatstroke. What are the warning signs? What can you do to prevent it and treat it, and when do you need urgent medical help?

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