Heat wave: life-threatening for the elderly and young children

For some, it is the height of summer feelings. For others, temperatures in excess of 30 degrees, as announced in the next few days, are pure torture and sometimes dangerous. The risk of death increases from 30°C. We’ll explain exactly what you should pay attention to when setting standard temperatures and which groups of people you should take care of.

In the coming days it will be hot in Germany. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday could scratch the 35 degree mark locally, especially in central and southern Germany. After a short period of cooling off, the heat should start again on Sunday.

While some are rejoicing and enjoying the hot summer days, others really struggle – even to the point of serious health problems. The extreme heat puts a strain on the lungs, heart and psyche – and can become a serious danger. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wrote over the weekend Twitteryou have to now The elderly and the sick Heat wave protection. “Liquid supplies, fans, talk about the importance of hydration. Be available.” He even feared deaths. On very hot days, clinics are prepared to bring patients with heat-related symptoms such as dehydration and circulation problems to the emergency room.

Heat is also particularly dangerous for infants, young children, pregnant women, and the chronically ill. taking into consideration Medicine It can also make you more susceptible to heat-related health problems.

Heat wave: Who is most at risk?

People over 65 years of age and people with pre-existing chronic conditions particularly suffer from the effects of a heat wave – Especially if they drink too little. High temperatures increase the risk of falls, dehydration, confusion, and circulation problems, including circulatory failure.

The body protects itself from high outside temperatures with ‘evaporative cooling’: it occurs when sweat evaporates on the skin and cools it. But this protective mechanism can be significantly reduced in the elderly. Medications can also help a person sweat less than is necessary. If it is no longer possible to calm down by sweating, there is a risk The temperature is increasing: Blood vessels in the arms and legs dilate, and blood pressure drops. Reduced blood flow to the brain can lead to unconsciousness. If the whole body temperature rises – the temperature can then rise to more than 40 degrees within a short period of time – there is also a risk of brain swelling. Like this too sunstroke It could end fatal.

Infants and young children are also at risk: they are less adaptable to higher temperatures than adults, produce less sweat and have a larger skin surface compared to their body weight.

wyeDangerous mail are hot days?

From a temperature of 30 ° C, we are talking about hot days. During a heat wave, the temperature is above 30 degrees during the day for several days, and the temperature does not drop below 20 degrees at night. If the body cannot adequately recover at night, heat-related stress increases and a dangerous buildup of heat or life-threatening heat stroke can occur. It becomes especially dangerous when the outside temperature exceeds body temperature (about 37 ° C). After that, the body can no longer release heat to the outside.

For the particularly hot summer from 2018 to 2020, experts recently calculated a significantly increased number Heat-related deaths: Researchers from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and the German Weather Service (DWD) wrote recently in “Deutsches Ärzteblatt”. Researchers estimate 6,900 heat-related deaths in 2019 and 3,700 in 2020.

Sufficient liquid for the elderly and children

Water is best and last when it is hot – and this applies to young and old alike. However, older people need to be more hydrated than younger people because the risk of dehydration increases with age. The reasons lie in insufficient fluid intake and possibly greater fluid loss. In old age, the sensation of thirst often decreases and people drink less.

Drinking water is important, especially in sufficient quantities (at least 2 liters per day). (Photo: CCO Public Domain/pixabay/Baudolino)

It should be at least two liters of water per day. It’s best to drink a glass of water every hour – even if you’re not thirsty, that’s a recommendation from the Federal Environment Agency in its thermodynamic etiquette. “Recommended drinks in hot weather: tap water, mineral water, iced herbal tea without added sugar, tea with mint and lemon. Important: do not drink ice cold!”

It can be useful to put several glasses of water in the most frequently used places in the apartment, for example next to the refrigerator, in the hallway and in the bathroom.

Heat table: basic rules for hot days

Everyone should protect themselves from the heat – whatever their age:

  • Keep rooms cool, and only air them in the early morning and night. Keep windows closed and blackout curtains during the day.
  • Limit outdoor activities to cooler mornings and evenings. Children should play in the shade.

Warning signs include weakness, fever, severe headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and muscle cramps. You should take the injured to a cool place, cool them with a damp cloth, elevate their legs, give them something to drink, and call the doctor.

Here you will find tips and home remedies to help with circulation problems.

With materials from dpa.

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Keywords: climate protection drinking temperature

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