French people

France suffocates in weather posing serious health risks

Today should be the hottest day on record, this early, here in France.

It poses significant health risks to the elderly, but also to others, those whose medical conditions are exacerbated by extreme heat.

The elderly and other people at risk in France have been advised to stay indoors and stay well hydrated with the latest extreme weather conditions.

Older people only go out early in the morning or late at night to shop, exercise or cool off.

Southwestern France is expected to experience 41.4 degrees Celsius today, while the border region with Spain is expected to reach 42 degrees.

Where I am on the Côte d’Azur, the thermometers indicated that in full sun, it was 38C at noon.

All week it has been warmer.

The World Health Organization has warned that the rapid increase in heat gain, due to exposure to hotter than average conditions, compromises the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can lead to a cascade of disease, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and hyperthermia. .

A study published last August in the medical journal The Lancet found that hot environmental conditions and associated heat stress can increase mortality and morbidity, as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes and negatively affect mental health.

High heat stress can also reduce physical work capacity and motor and cognitive performance, with consequences for productivity, and increase the risk of occupational health problems.

The opening hours of the parks have been extended in France to cope with the extreme conditions.

People look for the coolest places, by the sea or rivers, or stay indoors.

In the town of Chateauraux in central France, an outbreak of bacteria in the water supply due to the heat has prevented the use of tap water.

People rely on bottled water, with free deliveries for those at risk.

I was in France at the end of June 2019, six months before any of us first heard about Covid-19.

Even then, Europe was facing another heat wave, and parts of France experienced a record temperature of 46C.

Where I was then, the thermometer fluctuated between 33 and 37°C during the day. It’s warmer now, earlier in the season.

The heat wave and drought in France are more intense and have arrived much earlier than before, a further signal of the pace of global climate change.

While hot weather can of course be fun, especially for children, it also presents health hazards.

The Health Service Executive says more than 13,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland.

It is twice as high as ten years ago and is expected to more than double by 2045.

Cancer experts say most skin cancers could be prevented by protecting the skin from the sun, taking precautions and not using tanning beds.

Whether people are enjoying the sun in Ireland or elsewhere, the golden rules are the same: wear covering clothing, wear strong sunscreen with an index of 30 or more, wear a hat, seek shade and use goggles to reduce exposure to the eyes from harmful rays.