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Most of us welcome hot weather but some places can be hit by heatwaves and endure a prolonged period of abnormally hot weather, which can pose serious health risks.
Heatwaves can often be anticipated and therefore it’s possible to prepare in advance but it’s important that expats and travellers are aware of the problems heatwaves can cause and how to cope with one if it hits unexpectedly.
A heatwave is described as a period of excessively hot weather which is often accompanied by high humidity. The temperature when a heatwave occurs will vary depending on the country in which it occurs and it’s usually measured relative to the usual temperatures for the particular season. What is labelled as a heatwave in one country might just be a normal temperature in a country that has a hotter climate.
Heatwaves and the problems they cause can often be underestimated. With everyone welcoming hot weather people usually overlook the risks that come with it until it’s too late.
The main risks that a heatwave can pose are dehydration, overheating, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. These symptoms can be mild but they can also be extremely serious. Overheating can be specifically dangerous for people that suffer from heart or breathing problems.
There are certain people that can be more affected when a heatwave occurs. The elderly are very vulnerable when it comes to the heat as are babies and young children.
Extreme heat can affect anyone but the following can be more susceptible to a heatwave:
A heatwave is most common during summer. It occurs when high pressure develops across an area and it can last a few days or sometimes even a few weeks. Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense as years go by due to climate change.
In the UK the Meteorological Office has a warning system that issues alerts if a heatwave is likely. There are four different levels when it comes to these alerts.
It’s important for expats and travellers to understand how to keep cool and cope with the hot weather during a heatwave as it can affect anyone at any time.
Here are a few tips:
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