The health impact of a heatwave depends on the intensity and duration of the temperature, the acclimatization and adaptation of the population, and the infrastructure and preparedness.
Exposure to heat causes severe symptoms, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke – a condition which causes faintness, as well as dry, warm skin, due to the inability of the body to control high temperatures. Other symptoms include swelling in the lower limbs, heat rash on the neck, cramps, headache, irritability, lethargy and weakness. Heat can cause severe dehydration, acute cerebrovascular accidents and contribute to thrombogenesis (blood clots).
People with chronic diseases that take daily medications have a greater risk of complications and death during a heatwave, as do older people and children.
Reactions to heat depends on each person’s ability to adapt and serious effects can appear suddenly. This is why it is important to pay attention to the alerts and recommendations of local authorities.
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