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Public Health (24-07-2006)

Staying healthy in a heat wave: DG SANCO publishes data and advice on health impact of extreme weather

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) has published information on the adverse impact of certain types of weather events on health.
The information published includes analyses funded by the Commission into the impact of the 2003 heat wave in Europe. These show that the hot weather that year caused thousands of deaths in Europe. The studies conclude that considerable effort should be directed at reducing the excess deaths caused by recent heat waves.
The dangers of heat waves could furthermore be increased due to both the ageing of the European population, and the fact that fatal heat waves could become a more regular occurrence due to global warming.
The European Commission will continue to examine the best ways of facing up to this challenge, particularly in terms of lifestyles of elderly people. The Commission will also support work aiming to reduce risk factors associated with excess heat-related deaths of elderly people, such as social isolation, inadequate care and living directly under the roof of a building.
The web pages also include up-to-date weather warnings from different Member States, descriptions of heat-related illnesses and national preparedness plans for extreme weather.
Further information: