Germany, Austria issue warning to elderly and infirm as heatwave rolls in
The German government on Friday warned the elderly, people with health conditions, pregnant women and parents with young children to seek out cool places amid forecasts for a sharp rise in temperatures over the weekend.
The country's weather agency, DWD, predicted the mercury could rise to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) with high humidity particularly in the west of the country Saturday. The heat will spread eastward by Sunday, reaching highs of 37C (99F), it said.
Germany's Health Ministry urged people to stay indoors, consume enough liquids and avoid strenuous activity, particularly during the day.
Austria, where temperatures are expected to reach 35C on Monday, advertised a free hotline for people to get tips on how to cope with the heat.
The southern state of Carinthia activated a heat protection plan for more than 900 care homes, hospitals and other sites to identify people who might be particularly vulnerable to high temperatures.
Each year, thousands of people across Europe die during heat waves, a problem that experts say will only increase due to climate change.
Across the planet, scientists said this week saw three new unofficial global temperature records.
Carinthia's top health official, Beate Prettner, said it's not just humans who need to be protected from the heat.
"Provide your four-legged friends with enough water, make sure they have a place in the shade and don't underestimate the risk of leaving animals in a car," she said. "A few minutes can already have dramatic consequences."
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