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WEATHER

How to avoid getting heat exhaustion in Austria’s scorching weather

As Austria swelters in increasingly hot temperatures, it's important to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion and look after those, such as children and the elderly, who may be more susceptible to heat-related problems.

A fan
There are lots of things you can do to prevent becoming over-heated in the hot weather. Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

Temperatures rose to highs of 37C in some parts of Austria on Friday. And although we’re going some respite from the heatwave with cooler temperatures forecast for the coming week, the trend for warmer summers is clearly on the up.

According to data from Austrian meteorology institute ZAMG, the number of days with temperatures of at least 30C has risen dramatically over the last few decades.

From 1961 to 1990, there were between three and 12 hot days per year in the Austrian provincial capitals, with a maximum of 20 hot days; and from 1991 to 2020, there were between nine and 23 hot days.

And, this year, July’s heatwave has led to an increase in excess deaths.

Deaths rose in the third week of July – which saw very high temperatures – after falling following April’s Omicron wave, according to Statistics Austria.

Over those seven days, 1,827 people died in Austria – 275 more than in the previous week and 24 percent more than the average of that period from 2015 – 2019 (ie pre-Covid), Statistics Austria General Director Tobias Thomas said.

So what we can do to prevent becoming unwell from the heat?

Older people, children and those with long-term health conditions (such as heart problems) can be particularly susceptible to health issues related to hot and humid weather, such as heat exhaustion, dehydration and heatstroke because it can be harder for their bodies to stay cool.  

It’s therefore a good idea to check in on relatives, friends and neighbours when temperatures are spiralling, if you can.

The typical symptoms of heat exhaustion to look out for include excessive sweating and clammy skin, dizziness and confusion, drowsiness, nausea, a rapid heart beat and/or breathing, headache, muscle cramps, increased thirst and a temperature of 38C or higher. 

Children may also become floppy and sleepy.

It’s really important to cool someone down quickly if they’re showing these symptoms to avoid them developing heatstroke, which can be very serious if it’s not dealt with quickly.

So how can you do that?

Move them somewhere cool, ask them to lie down with their feet slightly raised, get them to drink lots of water and cool their skin with water and/or fans.

To stop things getting to this stage and to avoid becoming dehydrated, health experts recommend drinking plenty of cold drinks; taking cool showers (or baths); keeping blinds/curtains closed at home during the hottest parts of the day and only ventilating rooms when the air temperature is cool; using fans to move air around; wearing pale, loose clothes; sprinkling water over skin and clothes; staying out of the sun at its hottest time (11am – 3pm); not drinking too much alcohol or overdoing the exercise.  

Don’t forget: Austria has a ‘heat’ hotline people can call for personal advice on how to best protect themselves from the heat under the free hotline 050 555 555. In addition, if you or someone you know shows any signs of heat stroke or other health problems, call the country’s health number on 1450.

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WEATHER

Forecast: Austria faces sunny weekend but temperatures to drop next week

Despite recent sunny weather, people in Austria will have to brace for wintery temperatures in the coming days.

Forecast: Austria faces sunny weekend but temperatures to drop next week

On Friday, people in Austria woke up to a foggy day that quickly turned into an unexpectedly sunny day with mild temperatures. Still, the country’s weather is about to change, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said.

Saturday should still have some periods of sunshine, especially in the eastern half of the country – perfect for those who will take part in the Viennese Wine Hiking Day (Wiener Weinwandertag), as temperatures should stay around 15C to 18C during the day.

READ ALSO: Wiener Weinwandertag: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s ‘Wine Hiking Day’

In Vorarlberg and Tyrol, however, it may already start to rain, especially south and along the main ridge of the Alps.

Early temperatures in Austria are expected to be between one and eleven degrees, with lower values in the north and daytime highs of 15C to 21C.

Screenshot from ZAMG

On Sunday, dense clouds will dominate and rain is expected in many places. However, a few sunny spells are quite possible in between, most likely in the north and east of the country.

Mostly weak to moderate winds from south to west. Early temperatures will be between six and twelve degrees and daytime highs between 13 and 18 degrees.

READ ALSO: What’s on: Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

On Monday, sun and partly dense clouds will alternate. In the course of the day, there may be rain showers, especially in the mountains, where the clouds are often thicker.

Early temperatures will be between six and twelve degrees, with daily highs between 13C and 19C.

READ ALSO: Top tips to protect yourself from storms in Austria

Stormy weather from Tuesday

On Tuesday, the unsettled weather will continue. Although there may be sunny spells sometimes, clouds will predominate.

Rain showers are expected in all parts of the country, and it could rain for longer periods in some areas.

Early temperatures are between six and twelve degrees, and daily highs are between eleven and 17 degrees.

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