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Health alarm raised as heat wave escalates

Health alarm raised as heat wave escalates

Doctors especially concerned about situation in Sicily

ROME, 19 June 2024, 14:51

ANSA English Desk



The health ministry has put Perugia on red alert on Thursday due to high temperatures, with the heat wave that has hit Italy set to escalate, and seven other cities will join it on Friday - Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Rome, Ancona, Campobasso, Palermo and Perugia.
    When an area is put on red alert, it means the heat is so intense that it poses a risk to healthy, active people and not just vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the sick and small children.
    The Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (SIMA), meanwhile, on Wednesday sounded the alarm about the situation in Sicily, where temperatures could reach 40°C in the provinces of Agrigento and Siracusa and 39° in Catania and Ragusa this week.
    "Excessive heat causes health problems as it can alter the body's temperature-regulation system," said Sima President Alessandro Miani.
    "The human body cools down through sweating, but in certain environmental conditions, this is not sufficient.
    "Excessive humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, with body heat increasing rapidly and this can damage vital organs and the brain.
    "Excessively high temperatures can cause mild ailments such as cramps and fainting, but also serious problems, from congestion to dehydration, worsening the health conditions of people with pre-existing chronic pathologies".
    The city of Naples had adopted a series of measures to help homeless people cope with the heat wave.
    These include granting access to public dormitories in the afternoon so they can get off the street in the hottest hours of the day.


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