Ridderkerks Dagblad | Heat and corona pandemic lead to problems


The combination of the hot summer and the corona pandemic is causing more problems than previously thought. This is the conclusion of scientists from VU University Amsterdam who conducted research into this together with the RIVM and the Global Health Heat Information Network (GHHIN).

According to the researchers, various measures in the national heat plans contradict in some respects with corona measures and advice from the government to prevent the spread of the corona virus. For example, it is recommended to cool down by the water or on the beach. This is contrary to the advice to avoid crowded public places.

It is also advised to pay extra attention to the weaker members of society during heat and to visit these people more often. This particular group is vulnerable to the virus. The researchers therefore advise revising the national heat plans to avoid contradictions. This has already been done for the Netherlands in collaboration with the RIVM.

In addition, medical personnel working with corona patients must wear protective clothing. The triage is often done outside the hospital in special tents. The combination of heat and protective clothing, such as aprons, face masks and gloves, makes it difficult for the body to dissipate heat, which can lead to heat stress and overheating. This will reduce the stamina and performance of the staff and make the care less optimal.

The researchers recommend working with special ‘pre-cool protocols’ to bring the body temperature down before the start of the shift, for example by drinking cold water or consuming slurry ice. Health workers should also regularly drink cold drinks and rest in cool places during their shift.

Also, fever, the main symptom of Covid-19, cannot be properly measured by the heat, which can cause people to be misdiagnosed. To avoid this, the researchers recommend taking 30 minutes of rest in a cool location before a fever test to counteract the effects of overheating.



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