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Heatwaves pose heath risk for elderly, chronic patients: THL

Published : 17 Jun 2020, 02:21

Updated : 17 Jun 2020, 09:48

  DF Report

People were enjoying sun at a beach in Helsinki. DF Photo.

Hot weather and heat-waves are a health risk also in Finland. The risk of serious health hazards particularly affects the elderly and those suffering from long-term illnesses, according to the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Hot and prolonged heat-waves that last for a few weeks can cause up to a few hundred deaths in Finland, said a THL press release.

The recommended isolation and avoidance of close contacts related to the prevention of coronavirus infections may increase the risk of health hazards caused by heat, if the person belonging to a risk group can’t get help in preventing heat-related health effects or if they don’t dare to leave their home, even if it gets unbearably hot.

Risk groups may also avoid seeking treatment in fear of infection.

During heat-waves, it is best to avoid sunshine, hot places and extra physical strain. Remember to drink enough water and to eat to avoid dehydration and low blood sodium. You should also wear light, breezy clothes and cool your body with cool showers or cold wraps.

In order to prevent health hazards of hot weather, it is important to try to keep indoor areas cool.

“Windows should be protected from sunlight and closed when the outside air is warmer than the indoor air. Indoor areas should be ventilated in the evening or at night after the outside air has cooled down,” said THL Researcher Virpi Kollanus.

A fan can also make people feel cooler, if the air temperature is below 35 degrees. However, using a fan may increase the risk of a coronavirus infection.

"During the coronavirus pandemic, avoid using a fan in common areas where more than one person is present. It is particularly important to avoid using a fan in confined spaces with poor ventilation. If you’re using a fan, it is a good idea to make sure that the ventilation in the space works efficiently and set the fan so that it doesn’t blow air from one person to another,” said Kollanus.