The heat is on. In the next eight days, in fact, Rome and the southern part of the country can expect temperatures to reach up to 38 degrees celsius.

The elderly are the ones most at risk in this aria africana; especially in this period which meteorologists predict will be among the worst of the summer, with no Atlantic currents in sight to provide relief. Even the Mediterranean waters have reached a temperature of 29 degrees while farmers are highly concerned over their crops in these dry weather conditions.

Those living in the larger Italian cities such as Genoa, Rome, Turin and Milan should take extra care. Experts recommend drinking plenty of fluids, eating lots of fruit and vegetables (to replenish the system with essential mineral salts) and not to eat heavy foods that make the intestines work too hard. One should also avoid going outdoors during the hottest hours of the day (12.00-18.00).

Genoa has been particularly hard hit by the heat and has already reached a record number of patients that need to be transported to the hospital (256 patients in one day compared to their average of 196 patients at the beginning of the year).

A a 24-hour helpline (tel. 80044002) has been set up to provide assistance to the elderly who are particularly vulnerable to these extreme weather conditions.