DORSET is basking in a heatwave with the highest temperatures of the year so far.

And the sizzling temperatures of 25 degrees-plus – which is putting the county on a par with temperatures in the South of France – is set to continue with the mercury set to climb even further towards the weekend.

The highest temperature recorded by Dorset Live Weather in the county today was 32.5C.

Weymouth weatherman Bob Poots said the town’s hottest day of the year was July 10 with 24.4 degrees recorded in the shade.

Today, and the coming days, is set to beat that as the mercury rises.

Mr Poots said people on Weymouth Beach in direct sunlight will be experiencing more like 35 degrees.

While the warm weather is bringing people out to enjoy the sunshine, health experts are warning of the risks associated with high temperatures.

The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems when the weather is very hot. In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse.

NHS Dorset CCG Weymouth and Portland locality team will be educating people this summer with their Safe Sun campaign about the dangers of exposure to the sun’s rays and will see the team giving out sunscreen and advice at a number of public events.

Dr Karen Kirkham is a local GP and Chair of the Weymouth and Portland Locality team of NHS Dorset CCG.

She said “One of the benefits of living in such a great part of the country is that a huge number of us enjoy a lifestyle that sees us spending a great deal of time outside. Unfortunately, along with the health benefits this does bring some danger and with this campaign we want to reinforce the message that people should be careful about spending too much time in the sun and should take care of their skin.

Tips for coping in hot weather

The following advice applies to everybody when it comes to keeping cool and comfortable and reducing health risks:

Shut windows and pull down the shades when it is hotter outside. If it's safe, open them for ventilation when it is cooler.

Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.

Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows. If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).

Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.

Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and alcohol.

Stay tuned to the weather forecast on the radio or TV, or on the Met Office website.

Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.

Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.

Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat if you go outdoors.

Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be less able to look after themselves.