Health ministry issues red alert.
Italy's ministry of health has issued a codice rosso or “red alert” for the capital which in recent days has been hit by a heatwave with temperatures in the high 30s centigrade.
The ministry's website includes practical common-sense advice to deal with the heat, including staying indoors during the hottest part of the day, drinking lots of water, eating lots of fruit, and never leaving children in parked cars.
People are also reminded to store medicine in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, and to avoid consuming any medicine that has changed colour or consistency.
At the same time Rome has launched its annual piano caldo campaign to help elderly, vulnerable and homeless people avoid the worst effects of the summer heat.
Central to the plan, which remains in force until 21 September, is the provision of day and night shelters where people most at risk can escape the heat and be treated for any unwelcome side effects.
The city has also been distributing thousands of bottles of water at key tourist destinations around the capital. One distribution point is in Piazza Risorgimento near the Vatican, where there is also a tent with air conditioning.
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