Opinions

Heatwaves can kill

The summer is renowned for its periodical heatwaves which make the weather unbearably hot at times. As time progresses, the summer months are becoming much hotter, with many attributing this to global warming. Last year, Greece faced a crisis with the hot weather as several fires could not be put out. 


This summer, it looks like the UK is bearing the brunt of the unbearable heat. In view of the UK July heatwave, extra measures for ambulance services were set up as announced by the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay. As part of these measures, more call handlers and additional resources were deployed to keep up. The public was also advised to take care of vulnerable relatives and neighbours. More space has been freed up in hospitals to ensure that patients would not be left outside in the heat. It has been determined that patients should not wait outside for more than thirty minutes.

In view of the extreme heat warning, the heatwave has been classified as a national emergency. The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK could potentially bring about deaths and several health issues. In this regard, it is necessary for people to keep themselves hydrated, seeking shade and cover. There were some issues for hundreds of people as they faced power outages, with no electricity and water.

The UK was expected to face significant disruption with people also advised not to travel unless necessary. Rails were expected to be impacted by the heat, potentially making the trains slower. In this regard, unless necessary to visit the office, people were being encouraged to work from home. Schools were also being assisted to ensure that they remain open.

The temperatures that the UK is facing this year, compare quite high when analysing those in 2021. The temperatures of 2021 did not near this year’s and had contributed to around a thousand and six hundred excess deaths during the heatwave. This is one of the reasons why people are being urged to stay safe. Deaths which are caused by heatwaves, manifest themselves through heart attacks and strokes, as bodies would struggle to keep temperatures stable. The increase in deaths throughout a heatwave can increase rapidly. A related example took place in France in 2003, where the country recorded fifteen thousand excess deaths. The overwhelming majority of deaths was amongst people who were sixty-five years of age or older.

The problems pertaining to heatwaves are increasing as time goes by. The argument of sustainability is once again underscored as an important item for discussion.

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