The health dangers posed by extreme heat

Asia, Europe, and the United States are all experiencing sweltering heat, as is the rest of the planet.

The health dangers posed by extreme heat

The health dangers posed by extreme heat



Several ways in which heat affects health.

Heat exhaustion, characterized by symptoms such as vertigo, headaches, trembling, and thirst, can affect anyone and is typically not severe if the individual cools down within 30 minutes.

When the body’s central temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius), the condition is referred to as heatstroke. It is a medical emergency that can cause irreversible organ damage and mortality. Among the symptoms are rapid respiration, confusion or convulsions, and nausea.

Who faces danger?

Some individuals are more susceptible, including infants and the elderly, as well as those who must remain active or are more exposed, such as the destitute.

Existing conditions, such as respiratory and cardiovascular maladies, as well as diabetes, can also heighten the risk – and be exacerbated by heat.

According to a study published in The Lancet in 2021, just under half a million fatalities per year are attributed to excessive heat, although data from many low-income nations is lacking. During Europe’s heatwaves last summer, as many as 61,000 people may have perished, and a repeat is anticipated this summer.

“Heat waves are mute and undetectable killers. Professor Liz Stephens, a climate risk and resilience researcher at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, said, “We don’t often see the impact they have on human health until the mortality statistics are released many months later.”


Additionally, air pollution poses a threat to human health, with wildfire smoke potentially causing inflammation and tissue damage, among other severe effects.

Several studies have demonstrated that heat can also result in low birthweight and preterm birth in expectant women and infants.

There are also hidden dangers. Dr. Vikki Thompson, a climate scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, stated that extreme heat often contributes to a decline in mental health, as well as an increase in vehicle accidents and drownings.

She stated that heat surges are among the most lethal natural hazards.


Earlier in the summer, when people’s bodies have not had an opportunity to acclimate, there are more fatalities, according to experts.

People are at a greater risk in areas where they are not accustomed to such temperatures, such as certain regions of Europe.

However, there are limitations, and people all over the world are at risk in extremely hot weather caused by climate change, especially those who must continue working in physically demanding occupations, for instance.

Dr. Modi Mwatsama, head of capacity at Wellcome, a London-based global health charity, said, “It is more important than ever that we implement measures to limit the harm to our health.” This included everything from providing shelter and painting buildings white to investing in early-warning systems for climate-sensitive infectious diseases such as cholera.


Public health agencies from Italy to the United States have issued recommendations for maintaining a cool body temperature, including avoiding exertion whenever possible and remaining hydrated. Scientists recommend that employees take more pauses and also change their clothing.

It is also essential to check on those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and the socially isolated, they stated.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical treatment.