Heat waves can have significant impacts, including an increase in heat-related deaths. They are among the most dangerous natural events, but rarely receive proper attention because resulting deaths and damage are not always immediately visible. From 1998 to 2017, more than 166'000 people died as a result of heat waves, including more than 70'000 during the 2003 heat wave in Europe.
Globally, extreme temperature events are observed to be increasing in frequency, duration, and magnitude. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of people exposed to heat waves increased by about 125 million.
Heat waves can strain health care and emergency services and increase stress on water, energy, and transportation supplies, which can lead to power shortages or even blackouts. Food and nutrition security can also be affected if crops or livestock are destroyed by extreme heat.
Direct impacts: Heat illness (dehydration, heat cramps, heat stroke), accelerated death from respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and other chronic diseases), stroke, diabetes, etc. Indirect effects: Impacts on health services, increased risk of accidents (drowning, workplace accidents, etc.). Disruption of infrastructure (electricity, water, etc.). Increased transmission of foot and water borne diseases, algal blooms.
The risk is higher for the disabled, pregnant, already fragile, poor, displaced, homeless, children, elderly, and outdoor workers!
- Keep your living space cool.
- Stay away from heat.
- Drink water regularly, avoid alcohol.
- Wear light and loose clothing.
- Wear a hat or cap and sunglasses.
- Take cool showers and foot baths.
- Eat small meals more often.