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Heat-wave raises health risk of elderly, ill

26 Jul 2019, 03:21 ( 4 Months ago) | updated: 26 Jul 2019, 10:35 ( 4 Months ago)

DF Report
Photo City of Helsinki/Comma Image Oy.

Elderly people and people with long-term illness are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of heat-waves, warned the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in the wake of the current scorching heat in the country.

With age, the ability of the body to regulate its own temperature weakens and the risk of dehydration increases. People over 65 of age are the most vulnerable risk group, said a THL press release on Thursday.

According to research results, hot weather increases the number of death from heart diseases and diseases of the respiratory system. If the temperature climbs to over the optimal level (240C), mortality can increase by 2-4% per each degree of temperature.

The social affairs and health ministry reminds employees working in services for older people or in institutional care, that clients’ and patients’ wellbeing must be secured during heat-waves. 

Systematic approach and foresight are important: making contact with home-care clients, organising more day activities for older people and, when necessary, arranging cooler premises open for all.

Municipalities are urged to provide more general information on how the adverse effects of hot weather can be prevented or reduced.