KOLKATA, June 26:
Global temperature and the frequency and intensity of heatwave will rise in the 21st century as a result of climate change.
Extended periods of high day and nighttime temperature create cumulative physiological stress on the human body which exacerbates the top causes of death globally, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and renal disease.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), heatwaves can acutely impact large populations for short periods of time often trigger public health emergencies and result in excess mortality, and cascading socioeconomic impacts (e.g. lost work capacity and labor productivity). They can also cause loss of health service delivery capacity, where power-shortages which often accompany heatwaves disrupt health facilities, transport, and water infrastructure.
Awareness remains insufficient of the health risks posed by heatwaves and prolonged exposure to increased temperatures. Health professionals must adjust their planning and interventions to account for increasing temperatures and heatwaves. Practical, feasible, and often low-cost interventions at the individual, community, organizational, governmental and societal levels, can save lives.
Rising global ambient temperatures affect all populations. However, some populations are more exposed to, more or physiologically or socio-economically vulnerable to physiological stress, exacerbated illness, and an increased risk of death from exposure to excess heat. These include the elderly, infants and children, pregnant women, outdoor and manual workers, athletes, and the poor. Gender can play an important role in determining heat exposure.
Heat gain in the human body can be caused by a combination of external heat from the environment and internal body heat generated from metabolic processes. Rapid rises in heat gain due to exposure to hotter than average conditions compromises the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can result in a cascade of illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and hyperthermia.
Deaths and hospitalizations from heat can occur extremely rapidly (same day), or have a lagged effect (several days later) and result in accelerating death or illness in the already frail, particularly observed in the first days of heatwaves. Even small differences from seasonal average temperatures are associated with increased illness and death. (UNI)
KOLKATA, June 26: