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Over 19,000 heat deaths in past summers, study finds

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Status: 01/07/2022 05:51

Over the three summers from 2018 to 2020, more than 19,000 people died in Germany due to the heat. This is shown by an assessment by the Robert Koch Institute, the German Meteorological Service and the Federal Environment Agency.

According to a study, high summer temperatures led to thousands of heat-related deaths in Germany between 2018 and 2020. For the first time since the start of the survey period in 1992, excess heat-related mortality has produced for three consecutive years, wrote researchers from the Robert Koch Institute, the Federal Environment Agency and the German Meteorological Service in the “Deutsches Ă„rzteblatt”.

It is estimated that in 2018 – the second hottest summer since records began in 1881 – there were around 8,700 heat-related deaths. In 2019 there were about 6900 and in 2020 about 3700 heat deaths. Over the past year, no significant increase in excess heat-related mortality has been recorded.

The cardiovascular system is highly stressed

In all regions – North, Center and South – the 85+ age group has been hardest hit. Heat can put a strain on the cardiovascular system and in particular aggravate existing symptoms such as respiratory diseases. Since heat is mentioned as a direct cause of death only in rare cases, experts have used statistical models to estimate the number of heat-related deaths.

people seem to adapt

According to the study, the influence of high temperatures on mortality has globally decreased slightly since 1992. This indicates some adaptation to heat. “It is conceivable, for example, to modify individual behavior through increased awareness, such as wearing airy clothes, drinking enough fluids or going to shaded or air-conditioned rooms.”

Nevertheless, the years 2018 to 2020 show that “heat episodes continue to pose a serious threat to the health of people in Germany”. Heat wave management in Germany needs to be significantly improved and vulnerable population groups need to be adequately protected.

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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