Londoners prepare for this year’s first heat wave

London is forecasted to reach 22 degrees on Friday afternoon, making it the hottest day of 2022 thus far. 

Along with rising temperatures comes a high UV index rating in some areas. According to the Met Office UV forecast, UV will reach 6 in areas of South London at midday.

Trying to find an activity to enjoy the sun? Read about what’s on in London this weekend.

The UV index measures exposure on a scale of 1 (Low) to 11 (Extreme). Factors that determine the rating are cloud cover, position of the sun, and ozone levels. A rating of 6 is classified as ‘High’.

With temperatures in the city hotter than the holiday destinations of Ibiza and Majorca, Londoners are likely to flood local parks and outdoor venues to soak up the sun in their own backyard. 

Spending time in the sun is commonly associated with an increase in mood and lower levels of stress. According to Medical News Today, the benefits of sunlight also include “generating the production of vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease, and promoting good mental health.”

Higher temperatures are likely to be reflected in a more relaxed city atmosphere. While activities are shifting from indoor to outdoor settings, it is also important for people to protect themselves from the dangers that come with high UV levels. 

Short term effects of UV exposure are sunburn and skin damage. Long term effects include eye disease and skin cancer. People spending time in the sun should use sunscreen with at least SPF15. Broad spectrum sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays, which can both cause skin cancer.

Fortunately, Londoners can take other precautionary measures to protect themselves from the risk of UV overexposure. According to Cancer Research UK, at UV levels of 3 or higher, individuals should utilise shade, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and drink plenty of fluids. 

UV levels are highest between 10am and 2pm, so people may choose to plan their outdoor activities for other times in the day when sun exposure is more mild.

London is entering into a week of weather that the city has been anxiously waiting for. While the city is moving outside, it is important for people to know the risks of spending too much time in the sun and what they can do to protect themselves.

Words: Ella Gibson Images: Ella Gibson, Beth Lander

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