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Health advice for hot weather during the COVID-19 outbreak

Description

The frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves is increasing, with a significant intensifying trend in the European Region, which is of concern for public health. Due to climate change, the potential for hazardous exposure to extreme heat has been worsening in the last decades, and will continue to worsen in the  future. Recent studies have estimated that the heatwave probability has increased for 31 European cities (European Union capitals plus London, Moscow, Oslo and Zurich), and found that all the investigated European metropolitan areas will be more vulnerable to extreme heat in the coming decades. The scientific consensus is that climate change will increase the heat-related burden of disease if we do not implement strong levels of adaptation. This is also of great importance to avoid placing an additional burden on health-care systems at a time when they are already severely stretched to treat COVID-19 patients.

During periods of hot weather, it is important to keep cool to avoid the negative health effects of heat.

  • Keep out of the heat.
    Avoid going out and doing strenuous activity during the hottest time of day. Take advantage of special shopping times for vulnerable groups whenever available. Stay in the shade, do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles, and if necessary and possible, spend 2–3 hours of the day in a cool place while respecting physical distance of at least 1 meter.
  • Keep your home cool.
    Use the night air to cool down your home. Reduce the heat load inside the apartment or house during the day by using blinds or shutters and turning off as many electrical devices as possible.
  • Keep your body cool and hydrated.
    Use light and loose-fitting clothing and bed linen, take cool showers or baths, and drink water regularly, while avoiding sugary, alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.
  • Keep cool during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    Avoid exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25°C, as there is no evidence that this prevents or cures COVID-19, and it increases your risk of sunburn and heat-related illness. You can catch COVID-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather is, so protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, coughing into your folded elbow or a tissue, and avoiding touching your face.

Reference information

Contributor:
WHO Regional Office for Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Nov 05 2020   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023

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