Dig out the deck chairs and stock up on ice cream – the hot weather is here to stay!

Temperatures have already soared above those in Rome, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro.

And it’s not just people trying to keep cool in the heat – spare a thought for the animals, including these Percheron horses who needed to cool off in a Ringwood stream.

Farmer Robert Sampson, 58, still uses the heavy horses to work his 265 acres of land, but a few buckets of water helped ensure they didn’t overheat yesterday.

Warning Forecasters say the hot weather is likely to stay for the first ten days of the school summer holidays.

But GPs are warning people to stay safe in the sun.

They say the elderly, the very young and seriously ill are most at risk, particularly those fasting during the final days of Ramadan.

Southampton’s Abu Bakr Mosque are advising children, the elderly and people with serious health problems not to fast and they have been stocking up on bottles of water for members to drink during the evenings.

Bitterne GP Dr Steve Townsend said: “With a few days left of Ramadan, and many local people fasting, dehydration can be a serious risk. With the hot weather and fasting times of up to 19 hours the likelihood of fluid levels becoming too low increases. It is important to balance food and fluid intake between fasts and especially to drink plenty of water during this time.

“If you or someone else starts to feel unwell, disorientated or confused, faint or produce very little or no urine you may be dehydrated and it is important you stop fasting and have a drink of water.

“We would also like to remind local people of the importance of check on friends, relatives or neighbours who may be vulnerable to the effects of the heat.”

As reported by the Daily Echo yesterday, Southampton General Hospital was put on red alert after a spike in trauma incidents.

Doctors are urging patients with sunburn to stay away and stick to sunscreen remedies to reduce pressure on waiting times and hospital bed availability.

But a spokesman for Solent NHS Trust said they were not experiencing a rise in hot weather illnesses at the minor injuries unit at Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton.

The spokesman said: “It is business as usual for us and we have not noticed any particular increase of problems due to the weather.”