Heat waves risks and responses by Christina Koppe, Sari Kovats, Gerd Jendritzky & Bettina

By Christina Koppe, Sari Kovats, Gerd Jendritzky & Bettina Menne

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Warning: if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too. • Try to rest often in shady areas. • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/ UVB protection” on their labels). 4. 4. Survey of heat health warning systems in Europe National meteorological services in Europe were surveyed by questionnaire to identify heat health warning systems and to evaluate their benefits.

2. Methods The Philadelphia system is a three-tiered system (Fig. A watch, an alert and then a warning are issued depending on the weather conditions forecast. In the final tier, there are three levels of health warnings, and these depend on the number of excess deaths predicted by the model. Web-based forecast tools are employed within these systems for ease of communication across varied agencies. Initial forecasting, up to 48 to 60 hours in advance, proceeds automatically via electronically transmitted digital forecast information.

Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot. • Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps. • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air-conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

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