July 19, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Southern Europe on the eve of a powerful African heat wave (video)


A heat wave is heading from Africa to southern Europe. Meteorologists predict that the temperature record of 48.8°C, recorded in 2021 in Sicily, may well be broken this summer.

Authorities in several southern European countries are warning residents of the risk of heatstroke*. Waves of hot air, driven by winds from North Africa, cover Europeand temperatures are rising rapidly, especially in the Balkans and Italy, writes euronews.

Eight Italian cities are under heat warnings. Abnormal temperatures affect people differently, depending on their state of health, age, and physical fitness. What happens to the human body under the influence of extreme heat when it suffers from heat exhaustion? British scientists led by Professor of Physiology Lewis Halsey from the University of Roehampton are trying to answer this question:

“If the temperature rises above 40°C, we are at risk. Some people will be fine, while others will not. But this is where the problems begin. Certain organs may begin to fail or malfunction. The reason for this may be the so-called denaturation of proteins. That is, proteins change their shape, which leads to the disintegration of some of them. These are the first signs of overheating of the body.”

When there is too much water in the air due to high humidity, a person’s sweat does not evaporate, but flows down the body, and the body’s thermoregulation process is disrupted. Professor Halsey says:

“When humidity is high, the amount of water vapor in the air is quite high. And the main way our body loses heat or stops increasing its temperature in a hot environment is through sweating. It works incredibly well in humans, better than in many mammals.”

Last week, says Euronews, due to 40-degree heat Greek authorities were forced to close the Acropolis to visitors. In Turkey, the temperature on the coast was 12 degrees above the seasonal norm. And residents of North Macedonia were urged not to leave their homes due to the extreme heat.

Our publication previously reported: what tourists need to know about heat waves in Greece. It should be borne in mind that Greece is one of the most climate-affected countries in Europe. Last year, rising temperatures sparked deadly wildfires and erratic rains led to the worst floods on record, damaging crops.

Experts recommend staying out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am and 4pm, covering your head if you need to go outside, and keeping the air well-hydrated.

*Signs of Heat Stroke: deterioration in general health, redness of the skin, increased body temperature, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, headache, dizziness, fainting (loss of consciousness), shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, convulsions.



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