People are being advised to take care of their health as this summer's temperatures continue to soar, amid warnings the effects of climate change will pose increasing challenges in the years ahead.

Readings topping 30C have been recorded over the past few weeks, and for some it's been more than 40C. A temperature of 48C was recorded on a phone app in a woolshed in Elsthorpe this week - extreme enough for that shearing gang to knock off early for the day.

While there had been no heat-related admissions to the Hawke's Bay hospital emergency department this summer, district health board chief medical and dental officer John Gommans said a key piece of health advice was to stay well hydrated.

"Drink plenty of water, especially for children, older people and pregnant women. The signs that someone is becoming dehydrated are when they start to feel weak and faint and stop sweating."


He advised avoiding being outside during the hottest parts of the day, to wear loose and light clothing, and to keep the house cool.

"Check on your neighbours, especially older people living on their own, to make sure they are coping with the heat, and make sure children returning to school have a water bottle, sunblock and a hat."

With hotter summers likely to become more frequent, OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council, this week called for health and equity to be at the centre of discussions and planning around climate change.

OraTaiao co-convenor Dr Alex Macmillan said even short duration heatwaves could lead to increased deaths and hospital admissions from heat stroke, heart and lung disease, placing a heavy burden on families, communities, and the health system.

"As we continue to see every year breaking new records for average and highest temperatures, climate change begins to take its toll in the form of more days of extreme heat, which our bodies are simply not used to here.

"New Zealand urgently needs a climate change and health adaptation plan, so that we can ensure people's health is protected from the impacts of climate change, including these higher summer temperatures."

Measures could include investment in well-designed climate action, including homes that were easy to cool and warm and better city planning, she said.

"These need to considerations especially as we see increasing housing density - having plenty of green spaces, shade and water in urban centres can be really important - not just drinking water but also blue spaces to cool down."

The Ministry of Health was also planning for hotter summers, developing a nationwide heat health plan to help DHBs and community service providers prepare for the impacts of climate change, Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said.

"We all know intense heat is a big challenge for people already suffering health conditions, especially the elderly, people with disabilities and chronic disease.

"While New Zealand and the world are taking action to limit climate change, some temperature rise is now locked in and the Government has a responsibility to prepare for that.

"Climate change is also likely to result in more droughts, wildfires, floods and infectious disease across the country.

"These are potentially big challenges for the health sector and I want to make sure it is ready to tackle them."

The Ministry for the Environment's climate change projections for the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne regions forecast that, compared to 1995, temperatures are likely to be up to 1.1C warmer by 2040 and 3.1C warmer by 2090.

By 2090 the region is predicted to have between eight to 15 extra days per year when maximum temperatures exceed 25C and frosts are likely to decrease by up to 15 days per year.