Organization: World Health Organization (WHO) Europe

Year: 2009

EuroHEAT, a project co-funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, aimed to improve public health responses to weather extremes and to heat-waves in particular. Climate change is projected to lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat-waves. In the European cities analysed in the EuroHEAT project, the estimated excess mortality ranged from 7.6% to 33.6% during heat-wave episodes. Long and intense heat-waves have the most severe health effects. There is growing evidence from EuroHEAT that the effects of heat-wave days on mortality are greater, particularly among the elderly, when levels of ozone or particulate matter are high. A wide range of chronic diseases and medical treatments, social isolation and some types of occupation increase the risk of heat stress in individuals. In European cities, the elderly suffer the greatest effects of heat-waves. Across Europe, housing and socioeconomic conditions showed varying influence on the impacts of heat on health. On the basis of the results generated by the EuroHEAT project, two tools for public health interventions were developed: the web-based climate information support tool and the guidance for heat–health action plans. This document summarizes the overall project results.

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