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WEATHER

Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave

Sweden's state weather forecaster SMHI has issued a yellow warning for the high temperatures across large parts of Sweden this Midsummer weekend, as people's health could be seriously affected.

Sweden issues health warnings over Midsummer weekend heatwave
People sunbathing at Mälarhöjdsbadet. SMHI has warned of "very high temperatures" in the next few days. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

People in Sweden have been warned to keep cool over the Midsummer weekend, as soaring temperatures mean the heat will affect some people’s health.

“In general, we in Sweden have a bad idea of ​​how dangerous the heat can be. It can be dangerous for everyone, not just for risk groups”,  Elin Andersson, researcher in environmental health at the Swedish Public Health Agency, told newswire TT.

She advised that certain individuals such as elderly, chronically ill, pregnant women, young children, elite exercisers and those on medication, take extra care.

Certain medicines, such as antidepressants, diuretics, beta blockers and neuroleptics, can affect the body’s fluid and heat regulation.

“If you take this type of medicine, it is good to contact your doctor when there is a heat wave. Sometimes you may need to temporarily change the dose”, Andersson told TT.

Caution should also be taken with young children under the age of five, as they haven’t yet developed their ability to sweat properly.

“They need help to stay cool and replenish fluids continuously. Another tip is to serve extra liquid-rich food, such as vegetables and fruit”, Andersson said.

Pregnant women should also take extra care in the heat, she added.

The most dangerous consequence of prolonged heat is dehydration, which often affects the elderly and people who exert themselves physically.

“Our general advice is to drink more than usual when it is hot. But what is right depends on who you are. For example, people with certain types of kidney disease should not drink too much. You must check with your doctor.”

Elin Andersson says that heat stroke is unusual in Sweden but heat-fatigue is more common.

“You can feel tired, dizzy, weak, nauseous and have an elevated heart rate. Heat exhaustion can become severe and turn into heat stroke. This is when the heart rate gets even higher and the body’s heat regulation stops working.”

Other symptoms are that sweating may stop completely and that you lose consciousness.

“If you suspect heat stroke, you should always call 112”, she said.

In Båstad, the municipal water company is urging residents to be restrained with their use of water, as there is a risk the taps will be empty by this afternoon.

“We had normal behaviour until half past three yesterday, then a completely crazy consumption began that ended at midnight. Then the same trend started again this morning”, Jonas Håkansson, head of the Drinking Water department at NSVA, told newswire TT.

“This has to do with the heat. It is obvious that many people come to their summer houses where they plan to celebrate Midsummer and think that they can use the drinking water exactly as they want.

“One feels a great deal of frustration and disappointment that people do not take greater individual responsibility,” he said.

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WEATHER

More snow on the way for much of Sweden

Most of Sweden is experiencing sub-zero temperatures and more snow is on the way on Friday, Sweden's Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) warns.

More snow on the way for much of Sweden

“In most areas we’re likely to see quite light snowfall, in others it’s going to be more serious,” SMHI meterologist Sandra Fyrstedt said.

Between 5 and 15 centimetres of snowfall are expected in the northernmost areas of Halland county as well as large parts of Västra Götaland county this morning, leading SMHI to issue a yellow warning for these areas.

In southern Västra Götaland there could be stronger flurries of snowfall throughout Friday, Fyrstedt said.

Accidents and treacherous conditions can also be expected as a result of the snowfall.

Just after 8am on Friday morning, a bus tipped over in western Hisingen in Gothenburg due to the adverse weather conditions. According to police there were between 20 and 25 passengers on board, none of whom suffered injuries.

“Luckily, no one appears to have been injured,” said Hans-Jörgen Ostler, press spokesperson from the western region’s police service.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic accidents,” he said, “it’s slippy out on the roads, so drivers need to take into account the fact that there are different weather conditions today than there were compared with last week.”

“Serious accidents can also occur at low speeds,” he added.

According to SMHI, it’s difficult to say which areas will see the most snowfall over the next few days.

“There are now large areas of snowfall which will be covering the country, rather strips of snowfall which will be stronger in some areas,” Fyrstedt said.

SMHI has also issued a snow warning for parts of the Västerbotten county coastline, with serious snowfall expected over the course of Friday morning.

“That warning will probably be extended over the weekend,” Fyrstedt said. “There is still serious snowfall coming in over the Skellefteå bay and in towards land.”

Snow is also expected on Saturday and Sunday across the country – but still in relatively small amounts in most areas. The sub-zero temperatures look here to stay, however.

“In southern Sweden we can expect negative temperatures up to a few degrees above zero down in Skåne, Blekinge, Öland and Gotland,” Fyrstedt said.

“Up over Norrland temperatures will be between -5 and -15 degrees, generally speaking.”

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