27 Jun 2019

Alert: Heatwave alert for mainland Europe

Hot weather advice for travellers to mainland European countries Alert: Heatwave alert for mainland Europe

At the end of June 2019 many regions in mainland Europe are experiencing a heatwave caused by warm air masses (and Saharan dust) arriving from Africa. Spain was the first country to be affected by intense heat, which gradually spread to other countries in central Europe [1].

The Spanish authorities have issued heatwave warnings for areas of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands [2].

Extreme temperatures are being reported across mainland France [3] and Italy [4]. Austria, Germany, Poland and Switzerland have also issued hot weather alerts [1].

In regions of France, daytime temperatures of over 40ºC and overnight temperatures over 20ºC are forecast and the French authorities have issued precautionary advice [3].

The intense heat can be dangerous, especially for babies, young children, older people, and those over 75 specifically or those with serious chronic illnesses, particularly heart and breathing problems [5].

Advice for travellers

Carry cooled water with you when travelling, drink plenty of fluids, avoid excess alcohol and wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes. Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day and aim to walk in the shade. Ensure you apply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses as additional protection if you are outside.

Check that other people are ok, especially older travellers, young children, babies and anyone with underlying health conditions. Beware additional heat stress that being in a parked car brings. Avoid leaving anyone in a closed, parked car or vehicle, especially babies, young children or animals.

If you are at the beach or by a pool, take care and follow local safety advice when you go into the water to cool down [5].

If you feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst and a headache, move to a cool, shaded place to rest and drink water or fruit juice to rehydrate.

Seek medical attention for any unusual or new symptoms such as confusion or vomiting. If you develop painful muscular cramps or other symptoms, such as dizziness or a persistent headache that does not resolve, seek help.

Resources

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‘Current aspects of travel health’ course March 2020

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Circulating vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 has been confirmed by the World Health Organization in these African countries Read more
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