How to deal with a heatwave on the Riviera

We have all been enjoying the beautiful hot weather, which is no doubt one of the main reasons most of us live here in the Riviera. Bring it on? Yes, but just be a little careful and aware that when it turns into a heatwave, you and your family, especially vulnerable people, can be at risk of serious health issues.

The good news is that you can enjoy the sunshine as much as you like if you are mindful and aware of the national measures in place from June to the end of August. The National Plan issued by the Ministry of Solidarity and Health provides excellent advice on how to avoid risks of dehydration or heat stroke.

If we do experience a heat wave you will see signs on motorways and in Pharmacies reminding you that we are having, or at risk of having, a Canicule – the French word for a heat wave (pronounced kah-nee-kul).

The simple advice to avoid becoming unwell in extremely hot weather is that we all take responsibility to:

  • Drink about 1.5 litres of water a day – spread throughout the day
  • Eat small meals – often and little throughout the day
  • Keep your home/workplace as cool as possible – shutters closed/fans/air conditioning
  • Avoid doing heavy physical activity like sports or gardening during periods of intense heat

Most importantly watch out for older or younger family members or people with disabilities for any warning signs of dehydration like unusual tiredness, dizziness, or cramps in legs. Don’t forget your pets or animals relying on you for water and food and shelter.

You can also keep a track on national weather alerts which are updated twice a day available on the Meteo France website.

You will see there are four colours to indicate how dangerous the heat wave is:

Green – means national awareness especially between 1st June and 31st August – but this could be extended
Yellow – means we will be warned of a heat wave likely to happen in the next few days
Orange – this means we are officially having a Canicule (heat wave)
Red – this means it is dangerously hot and likely to last for more than a few days.

There is a national Canicule Information Service free phone number you can ring: 0800 06 66 66 between 09:00 and 19:00.  It is in French, but there is also a very useful guide in English.

What do do in a heatwave

If you would like further advice about what to do if you or someone in your family is suffering from dehydration, find useful guidance on dealing with an emergency in the Angloinfo Riviera How To pages, as well as information on weather warnings in France.

Most importantly have a wonderful summer and stay safe.