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Coronavirus: summer heatwaves will be challenging

Credit: Belga/E. Lalmand

As the weather services predict a very warm and dry summer with probable heatwaves, this presents several challenges in keeping the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in check.

The combination of heat and Covid-19 will present a number of challenges, said virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during a press conference on Friday.

“First of all, some of the people at risk of overheating are the same ones who have an increased risk of complications for Covid-19,” Van Gucht said, referring to the elderly, people in residential care centres, other older people living on their own, as well as people with certain chronic diseases, to the heart, lungs or kidneys, people with diabetes or obesity.

“There are also other people at risk of overheating. Children, and especially babies, but also people who have to do physical work outside,” Van Gucht said.

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Heatstroke can mainly be recognized by rising body temperature, accelerated breathing, red skin, vomiting and nausea. “People can also become confused, faint or even lose consciousness,” Van Gucht said.

The best thing to do during a period of great heat is staying at home as much as possible, especially during the hottest hours of the day, according to Van Gucht. “Avoid physical activity, and keep your interior cool as much as possible. Keep the sun out, and ventilate your house well, especially during the night when it cools down a bit,” he said.

“Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water regularly. Avoid alcohol, avoid caffeine. Look for cool spaces as much as possible, both indoors and outdoors,” Van Gucht said. “However, we have to be careful not to congregate in the same places. At the waterfront, in the shade of trees, we should not look for those places where too many people get together,” he added.

More information about heatwaves and what to do to protect yourself can be found on the website warmedagen.be.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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