So many mainly elderly people have needed urgent medical attention in recent days that hospital accident and emergency departments have been put under a great deal of pressure.

Heatwave-related admissions have added an extra burden to emergency departments trying to cope with more coronavirus patients and amid a severe shortage of manpower.

At the University Hospital Centre of Nice, about 20 people per day are being admitted suffering from heatstroke and dehydration. Many among them are also testing positive for coronavirus, which reduces the body’s ability to deal with the excess heat, according to Dr Pierre-Marie Tardieu, head of the emergency department.

The authorities in Spain have reported that over the past 10 days 500 more people have died than is normal at this time of year, and have attributed the extra deaths to the ongoing heatwave.

Residents of old peoples’ homes are less likely to become heatwave victims as the homes operate a special heatwave routine, emphasising hydration in particular. The most vulnerable are elderly people living alone.

Everyone should drink at least one and a half litres of water every day, even when not thirsty.

The neighbouring Alpes-Maritimes remain under an Orange alert for high temperatures.

FILE PHOTO: Exhausted nursing staff Reuters